Skip to main content

Full text of "A century of Vernon, Connecticut, 1808-1908"

See other formats


A     CENTURY     OF 

Vernon,  Connecticut 


EARLY     AND     MODERN.        LITER- 


June  28  to  July  4,  Inclusive,  1908 



JAX.    1911 







PART    I. 



—of  the— 

Early  History  of  Vernon 



The  Pilgrim  Fathers  who  founded  the  colony  of  Plymouth,  and 
their  successors  who  established  the  colony  upon  Massachusetts 
Bay,  were  the  bearers  of  a  new  and  more  excellent  order  of  life. 
They  constituted  the  vanguard  of  a  new  civilization  based  upon 
freedom  of  spirit  which  aspired  to  religious  liberty,  and  upon 
freedom  of  mind  and  of  body  which  is  the  civil  liberty  of  our 
modern  state.  From  the  leaders  of  these  two  colonies,  with 
vigor  of  manhood  and  nobility  of  ideal,  there  migrated  in  the 
year  1635,  the  pioneer  settlers  of  our  three  original  towns — 
Windsor,  Hartford  and  Wethersfield.  In  1726  from  one  of 
these  original  towns,  Windsor,  there  journeyed  into  the  territory 
of  North  Bolton.  Samuel  Grant,  the  first  permanent  settler.  In 
1808,  by  reason  of  the  large  increase  of  these  pioneers,  this 
northern  part  of  the  Mother  Town.  Bolton,  was  set  off  and  incor- 
porated as  a  separate  town.  Thus  it  was  that  Vernon  was  not 
only  descended  from  the  foremost  pioneers  of  the  nation,  but 
inherited  the  motives  and  impulses  of  a  new  era. 

The  original  towns  were  founded  upon  a  distinct  principle  of 
government.  Shortly  after  the  migration,  a  legislative  council 
was  convened,  under  the  name  of  the  "Corte,"  afterward  called 
the  General  Court,  our  General  Assembly,  The  powers  of  this 
'"Corte"  were  delegated  by  the  towns.  The  central  authority 
was  regarded  as  dependent  finally  for  its  claim  to  power  upon 
the  townships  themselves.  They  were  the  creators  of  the  state, 
were  therefore  the  source  of  authority  and  finally  supreme.  Such 
has  been  the  governing  principle  of  all  the  successive  towns  of 
the  commonwealth.  Imbued,  in  her  turn,  with  this  principle  of 
her  natural  autocracy.  Vernon  entered  upon  existence. 


Vernon,  as  a  beneficiary  of  Nature,  has  been  kindly  treated. 
The  town  is  divided,  north  and  south,  by  a  range  of  hills, 
which  mark  the  limit  of  the  broad  valley  of  the  Connecticut 
Eiver.  As  a  result,  the  western  portion  of  the  town  is  a  gently 
undulating  territory,  of  fair  soil,  and  well  watered  by  the  prin- 
cipal streams,  the  Hockanum  and  the  Tankaroosan.  The  eastern 
portion,  of  a  variegated  rock  formation,  precipitous  and  severe, 
possesses  at  its  northern  extremity,  the  outlet  of  a  marvelous 
watershed.  Formerly  this  outlet  was  not  under  the  control  of 
a  high  and  massive  dam  of  stone,  but  was  bound  by  a  low 
combination  of  logs  and  gravel  from  which  there  passed  a  rivulet, 
so  small,  that  a  well-known  townsman,  Peter  Dobson,  expressed 
considerable  surprise  that  Colonel  McLean  should  think  of  con- 
structing a  mill  upon  the  Hockanum  instead  of  the  Tankaroosan. 
Mr.  Dobson,  on  other  occasions,  was  an  unusually  able  and  close 
student  of  nature.  While  excavating  for  the  foundation  of  his 
cotton  factory,  he  was  greatly  impressed  with  the  abraded  con- 
dition of  many  of  the  bowlders.  This  unique  condition,  Mr. 
Dobson  attributed  to  their  being  suspended  and  carried  in  ice 
over  rocks  and  earth  under  water.  Eminent  scientists  in  Europe 
and  America  confirmed  this  original  theory  of  the  glacial  for- 
mation, and  Mr.  Dobson  was  honored  with  well-merited  prestige. 
Nature  was  kind  to  Vernon,  therefore,  in  the  diversity  of  her 
gifts,  as  well  as  in  providing  successful  interpreters  of  her 

As  the  new  town  had  an  inland  location  and  manufacturers 
were  still  in  the  experimental  stage,  the  inhabitants  by  nature 
and  by  necessity  gave  themselves  universally  to  the  pursuit  of 
agriculture.  The  conditions  of  farming  within  the  territory 
of  a  single  township  led  to  a  limited  and  somewhat  isolated 
population.  At  this  early  time,  the  town  government,  while 
essentially  the  same  as  that  of  today,  possessed  and  exercised  a 
much  wider  range  of  authority,  an  influence  indeed  which  to  the 
eye  of  the  settler  was  complete  and  supreme.  The  average  citizen 
of  1808  looked  upon  his  town  as  upon  a  small  republic,  and 
knew  little  and  cared  less  for  the  larger  commonwealth  to  which 
he  owed  his  allegiance.  The  reason  for  this  was  because  the 
interest  of  every  individual  was  bounded  by  the  rule  of  the  town 

^VmJ  4^>^^ynSi~^-A  /^i-t-mifi-Coy  ~/#Vi^>}  OcfcnrOf**  4*j> 

ff»V>  1 

FAC-SIMILE  OF  ORIGINAL  DEED  by  which  Samuel  Grant  exchanged  his 
farm  in  Bolton  of  one  hundred  acres  for  five  hundred  acres  of  land  in 
North   Bolton,   now   Rockville — deed  executed  in  1726. 


of  his  residence.  To  secure  legal  residence  he  must  either  be  a 
native,  be  admitted  by  vote  of  the  town  meeting,  by  the  approval 
of  the  selectmen,  or  by  election  to  some  town  office.  Having 
acquired  a  legal  residence,  to  become  a  voter  there  was  a  property 
qualification,  the  usual  testimonial  as  to  character,  and  the 
freeman's  oath.  These  powers  over  residence  and  tbe  right  to 
vote  were  greatly  modified  in  the  formation  and  adoption  of  the 
new  state  constitution  in  1818.  The  property  qualification 
disappeared  by  an  amendment  of  1845,  one  more  step  in  the 
evolution  of  the  suffrage  to  a  more  simple  and  universal  form. 

The  problems  of  our  fathers,  in  1808,  were  primarily  problems 
of  construction  rather  than  of  maintenance  as  at  present.  Sim- 
ilarity of  occupation  brought  about  an  identity  in  private  inter- 
est, which  naturally  found  expression  in  public  affairs.  At  the 
earliest  town  meeting,  presided  over  by  the  first  town  clerk  and 
treasurer,  Oliver  King,  it  was  voted  to  divide  the  districts  and 
assess  the  labor  on  highways.  For  a  long  period  of  years  the 
laying  out  of  new  highways  was  the  principal  subject  for  action 
at  town  meeting.  Many  acts  of  these  early  meetings  have  refer- 
ence, also,  to  the  protection  of  property  in  ways  quite  unusual 
today.  The  definition  of  property  was  a  matter  which  claimed 
much  careful  attention,  as  is  evidenced  by  the  office  of  fence- 
viewer.  Again,  men  were  so  few,  and  animals  so  common,  that 
the  hay  wards  and  pound-keeper  were  as  ordained  as  the  regular 
constable.  Horses,  mules,  sheep,  cattle,  geese  were  restrained  by 
special  acts  from  running  at  large.  A  notable  exception  occurred 
in  the  case  of  swine  which  were  allowed  to  run  at  large  with  a 
ring  in  the  nose.  With  these  various  additional  town  offices  and 
a  comparatively  small  list  of  citizens,  opportunities  for  public 
service  were  open  at  one  time  or  another  to  nearly  every  one. 

Considering  that  the  population  was  eager  to  exercise  itself  in 
this  regard,  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  at  that  a  great  amount  of 
sound  political  training  was  accomplished.  The  tax,  in  those 
early  days,  was  seldom  paid  in  money,  the  greater  part  was  work- 
ed out.  Town  meetings  were  held  at  Vernon  Center  up  to  1856, 
when  they  were  held  alternately  at  Rockville,  and  in  1865  alto- 
gether in  the  latter  place. 


The  ideal  of  religion  was  as  widespread  and  profound  in  its 
spiritual  effect  as  the  ideal  of  government  was  stimulating  in 
its  intellectual  effect.  The  established  church  being  Congrega- 
tional, possessed  the  same  democratic  principle  as  the  civil  au- 
thority. In  fact  the  relation  of  the  church  to  the  civil  power 
was  peculiarly  unique.  Taxes  were  by  law  collected  for  the 
support  of  the  church  as  regularly  as  for  town  expenses.  The 
church  society  used  the  civil  tax  list,  and  if  there  was  difficulty 
in  collecting,  the  town  authority  enforced  the  collection.  Re- 
strictions over  voting  in  the  society  meetings  were  as  rigid,  indeed 
were  the  same  as  in  the  civil  town  meeting.  The  activity  of  the 
tithing-man  was  clearly  in  behalf  of  the  church  society,  yet  he 
was  a  regularly  appointed  town  officer.  He  constituted  a  sort 
of  moral  police,  who  on  the  occasion  of  divine  service,  quelled  the 
restlessness  of  the  youth  and  disturbed  the  slumbers  of  the  aged. 
While  the  church  society  had  direct  control  in  all  matters  per- 
taining to  local  religion,  the  General  Assembly  held  jurisdiction 
over  the  church  body  as  a  whole.  This  close  relationship  between 
church  and  state  was  ended  in  1818  by  the  provisions  of  the 
new  constitution. 

In  1749,  upon  petition  of  eighteen  residents  of  North  Bolton, 
the  General  Assembly  granted  the  privileges  of  a  winter  parish. 
These  privileges  were  allowed  on  account  of  the  unusual  distance 
from  the  ordained  church  in  Bolton.  They  consisted  of  special 
services  in  the  schoolhouses  or  individual  houses  as  convenience 
allowed.  In  1760,  upon  further  petition,  a  separate  parish  was 
established  under  the  name  of  the  Ecclesiastical  Society  of  North 
Bolton.  The  first  pastor  of  this  Society  was  Rev.  Ebenezer 
Kellogg  and  his  salary  during  the  fifty-five  years  of  his  pastorate, 
did  not  exceed  £70.  (Colonial  currency  $233.33).  A  church  build- 
ing was  erected  in  1762  and  was  located  a  half  mile  east  of 
the  present  edifice  at  Vernon  Center.  The  spot  being  elevated 
according  to  custom,  became  familiarly  known  as  "Old  Meeting 
House  Hill."  It  was  not  until  IT 70  that  square  straight-back- 
ed pews  Mere  installed,  nor  until  1774  that  the  building  was 
finally  plastered.  The  age  of  our  ancestors  was  pervaded  by  the 
ideal  of  the  spirit.     They  labored  for  the  meat  that  perisheth, 


but  only  in  the  sense  that  by  a  renewed  vigor  and  a  more  ample 
fortune  they  might  erect  some  new  symbol  of  their  faith  in  the 
spirit  of  man.  In  1837,  members  of  the  parish  living  in  the 
village  of  Roekville.  organized  a  second  church.  The  church  had. 
as  its  first  preacher.  Rev.  Diodate  Brockway.  and  the  church 
building,  constructed  at  a  heavy  expense  ($4,500)  was  located 
on  the  site  of  our  present  Memorial  Town  Hall.  This  church 
remained  the  Second  Church  in  Vernon  up  to  1848.  when  the 
growth  of  the  village  became  so  pronounced  that  the  parish  was 
divided  and  a  new  church  organized.  The  new  edifice  was  erected 
on  the  site  of  the  present  Union  Church  and  the  first  pastor 
was  Rev.  Andrew  Sharpe.  The  two  churches  became  known 
respectively  as  the  First  and  Second  Churches  in  Rockville. 

Of  the  other  denominations  the  first  to  make  its  appearance 
was  that  of  the  Methodists.  Services  were  held  by  itinerant 
preachers  as  early  as  1833.  It  was  not  until  1840,  however,  that 
Vernon  was  placed  upon  the  regular  list  of  appointments.  The 
first  appointees  were  Revs.  Benj.  M.  Walker  and  Caleb  D. 
Rogers.  Meetings  were  conducted  in  the  old  schoolhouse  on 
AVest  Street  until  1847,  when  a  church  building  was  erected.  The 
location  was  in  the  same  vicinity,  on  AVest  Street,  not  far  from 
Windsor  Avenue. 

For  professions  other  than  clergymen,  there  was  in  the  Puritan 
regime  comparatively  little  room.  The  lawyer  was,  according 
to  the  Scriptures,  decried  and  regarded  as  a  maker  rather  than 
a  settler  of  disputes.  Vernon  was  fortunate  in  that  her  first 
lawyer  not  only  easily  dispelled  the  prejudice  of  the  age,  but 
achieved  a  distinction  far  beyond  the  confines  of  his  adopted 
town.  Hon.  D wight  Loomis  was  born  a  judge,  and  to  that  rare 
temperament  was  added  a  profound  devotion  to  the  public  wel- 
fare, and  to  the  principles  of  a  far-seeing  and  high-minded 

A  new  country,  consecrated  to  the  idealism  of  a  theocracy, 
had  little  thought  for  the  advancement  of  science.  Although 
physicians,  as  a  profession,  were  prominent  much  earlier  than 
lawyers,  the  efficacy  of  their  cures  lay  fully  as  much  in  the 
common  sense  of  a  strong  personality  as  in  the  consequences  of 


a  huge  cathartic.  The  list  of  rates  for  general  practice,  adopted 
in  1828,  by  the  Tolland  County  Medical  Society,  is  a  significant 
commentary  on  the  times — regular  visits  twenty-five  cents,  night 
visits  fifty  cents,  consultations  one  dollar.  One  of  the  ear- 
liest physicians  in  North  Bolton,  and  the  first  in 
Vernon  was  Dr.  Scottoway  Hinckley.  Dr.  Hinckley 
joined  the  Medical  Society  in  1803,  and  read  a  disser- 
tation before  that  body  in  1807.  He  was  particularly  interested 
in  school  matters,  and  served  many  years  on  the  visiting  and 
district  committees,  (1799-1815).  We  recall  Dr.  Hinckley  also 
for  his  experiments,  in  1812,  along  with  Delano  Abbott,  in  the 
first  weaving  of  cloth.  Altogether  Vernon  may  feel  well  satis- 
fied with  the  public  spirit  of  her  first  regular  physician. 

A  school  society  was  established  in  Xorth  Bolton,  October  31, 
1796.  The  formation  of  a  society  was  the  method  prevailing  at 
that  time  in  the  promotion  and  regulation  of  all  school  matters. 
In  the  early  days  of  the  three  original  towns,  the  common  educa- 
tion was  a  subject  for  action  at  town  meeting.  In  those  ^days 
there  was  usually  but  one  parish  or  ecclesiastical  society  in  each 
town.  As  the  population  increased,  a  division  became  necessary, 
and  two  or  more  parishes  began  to  occupy  the  same  general  terri- 
tory. With  this  division  into  parishes  came  the  gradual  transfer 
of  school  supervision  from  the  town  authorities  to  the  leaders 
in  each  parish.  The  school  society  was  a  self-appointed  repre- 
sentative committee  of  the  parish  interested  in  school  matters. 
The  first  meetings  of  the  society  in  Xorth  Bolton  were  held  in 
the  <»ld  meeting  house.  The  parish  was  immediately  divided  into 
districts,  and  the  erection  of  the  small  but  historic  schoolhouses 
soon  followed.  In  L798  the  first  school  visiting  committee  was 
appointed.  The  visiting  committee  appointed  in  1808.  when 
North  Bolton  became  Vernon,  consisted  of  Scottoway  Hinckley, 
Oliver  II.  King,  Benjamin  Talcott,  Jr.,  and  Thomas  W.  Kellogg. 
It  is  clear,  therefore,  that  the  school  system  was  in  working  order 
at  the  beginning  of  our  history  as  a  town.  As  the  southern 
part  of  the  town  was  the  earliest  to  develop;  the  Center.  Dobson, 
PJicenix  and  Valley  Falls  Districts  became  the  first  of  impor- 
tance.    The  old  schoolhouse  near  Valley  Falls,  long  since  out  of 

Founder   of   First   Cotton    Mill    in    Vernon   and   one   of  the   first  in   America. 
Co-worker    with    Samuel    Slater,  Father   of  Cotton     Manufacturing     in 
this  Country.  (Courtesy  of  Rockville  Journal). 


commission,  still  stands  the  relic  of  a  stern  and  somber  past.  In 
the  vicinity  of  Rockville,  the  West  District  became  the  first  of 
importance.     The  schoolhouse  stood  near  the  old   Grant    Mill. 
In  the  East  District  there  was  no  schoolhouse  until  1836.     To 
meet  the  rapid  development  of  the  new  village,  schools  were  held 
in  private  houses.     In  the  same  year,   1836,   the  society  voted 
that  school  should  be  kept  four  months  in  the  year,   the   first 
reference  we  have  to  the  length  of  the  term  of  instruction.    While 
an  opportunity  for  instruction  was  made  possible  for  every  child 
in  the  township,  we  can  not  regard  the  resultant  education  other 
than  purely  elementary.     Up  to  Is;;*.)  there  was  hut  one  grade. 
The  pursuit  of  agriculture  without   modern  implements  and  in 
the  midst  of  a  primitive  wildness  afforded  slight  opportunities 
for  self-culture.     The  foremost  problem  of  the  community  was 
the  hard  practical  end  of  gaining  a  livelihood.      Nature  was  the 
task-master  and    applied    mechanics   was    the  general  course  of 
study.     The  field  of  advanced  learning  was     reserved     for     the 
clergymen,  and  the  effect   even  here  was  dogmatic  and  limited. 
It  must  he  borne  in  mind,  however,  that   profundity  of  knowl- 
edge was  not  the  first  essential  of  a  community  based  upon  free 
institutions.     "We  glorify   our   fathers    because   they   recognized 
that  a  diffusion  of  knowledge,  a  high  average  intelligence,  was 
the  real   foundation   of  a  i'vvr  democracy.      In    1848,   the   first 
regular  school  building  for  both  the  lower  and   higher  grades 
was  completed  at  a  cost  of  about   $10,000.     This  marked  the 
beginning  of  our  modern  system  of  education.     A  state  law,  in 
185(5,  abolished  the  school  societies  and  transferred  the  school 
jurisdiction  from  the  parish  back  to  the  town.     Ii  was  some  time 
later,  however,    (1866)    before  the  various  school   districts  were 
made  uniformly  responsible  to  the  town  authority,  as  we  have  it 

Agriculture,  which  in  1808  occupied  a  foremost  position  in 
industry,  was  destined  to  be  superseded,  and  in  a  comparatively 
short  time  become  second  in  importance  to  the  mechanical  arts. 
In  the  early  days  the  lord  of  the  farm  looked  down  upon  the 
mechanic  as  upon  a  vulgar  and  inferior  being.  Not  until  the 
constitution  of  1818  were  both  placed  upon  the  same  level  as 


citizens.  Manufacturing  at  once  felt  the  impetus  of  the  new 
equality  in  industry.  Soon  after,  in  1821,  appeared  the  first 
real  factory  in  the  town,  built  by  Colonel  Francis  McLean,  and 
called  the  Bock.  Other  manufactories  in  their  order  of  develop- 
ment were — the  Frank  (1831);  New  Bock  (1832);  afterward 
the  Leeds  (1837);  Hockanum  (1833),  formerly  Twin  Mills 
(1814)  ;  Springville  (1833)  ;  Saxony  (1836)  ;  Panola  or  Stone 
Mill  (1836)  ;  and  New  England  (1837).  These  various  enterpris- 
es so  rapidly  succeeded  that  by  1841,  when  a  post  office  was  estab- 
lished and  Bockville  entered  upon  history,  the  mechanic  had 
passed  the  agriculturist,  and  not  only  in  Vernon  but  through- 
out Connecticut  as  a  whole.  We  became  a  manufacturing  town, 
and  we  arrived  at  this  condition  by  reason  of  the  intuitive 
faculty  which  has  given  us  the  name  of  "Yankee." 

War  has  made  its  summons  upon  Vernon  in  the  most  memor- 
able conflict  of  history.  Three  hundred  enlisted  men  responded 
to  the  great  moral  call  of  the  Civil  War,  Company  F 
of  the  Fifth  Connecticut,  Company  D  of  the  Fourteenth 
Connecticut,  and  a  detachment  in  Company  B  of  the 
Seventh  Connecticut,  and  one  German  company  of  the  Xew 
York  military,  beside  nmny  individuals  to  various  other  regi- 
ments. Upon  the  record  of  the  town,  as  well,  is  the  heavy 
expenditure  of  money  which  was  none  other  than  the  labor  of 
those  who  fulfilled  their  duty  at  home.  At  the  town  meeting 
of  August  19,  1862,  the  sum  of  $25,000  was  appropriated  for  the 
general  expenses.  By  the  close  of  the  war,  other  appropriations 
brought  the  total  to  over  $46,000.  In  addition  the  estimated 
amount  paid  by  individuals  for  bounties  to  volunteers  and  sub- 
stitutes was  $15,000.  When  we  remember  that  the  population 
was  less  than  half  of  our  present  numbers,  the  measure  of  the 
sacrifices,  both  in  men  and  in  money,  appears  in  a  truer  and 
more  powerful  light.  The  days  of  the  Bebellion  are  gone.  Only 
those  who  lived  them  through  can  know  of  the  anguish  of  soul 
upon  the  field  and  the  terrible  uncertainty  of  mind  at  home. 

A'crnon,  in  1824,  by  the  advantage  of  her  location  on  the 
Boston  Turnpike,  enjoyed  an  event  of  considerable  historic  inter- 
est.     Upon   this  turnpike  Colonel   King   erected   a   substantial 

Builder    of    the    first    woolen    mill    of 
importance  and  pioneer  of  the  indus- 

Delegate  to  Constitutional  Convention 
in    ISIS.     Agent   of  the   Rock  Manu- 
facturing   Company.      Organizer    of 
The  American  Mills. 

The  history  of  Rockville  has  been  in- 
separably  connected   with    name   of 
Hammond  since  1837. 

One   of  the   last  of  the   old-time   phy- 
sicians.      Father     of     Town     Clerk 
Skinner — Alden  Skinner  Camp    Sons 
of  Veterans  is  named  in  his  honor, 


hostelry,  our  present  town  farm,  known  in  those  days  as  King's 
Tavern.  At  the  tavern  many  men  of  national  fame  from  time 
to  time  regaled  themselves.  Finally,  one  of  international  repute, 
General  Lafayette,  on  his  revisit  to  America,  had  occasion  to 
make  the  journey  from  Boston  to  Hartford.  Vernon,  to  render 
the  illustrious  guest  appropriate  homage,  called  out  her  military 
for  a  royal  salute.  The  general,  however,  was  so  late  in  arriving 
that  the  soldiers  and  royal  salute  betook  themselves  home. 
Nevertheless  the  historic  sojourn  at  the  old  tavern  took  place, 
and  many  veterans  of  the  Revolution  greeted  the  gallant  French- 
man. This  event  has  been  honorably  commemorated  by  one  of 
our  patriotic  societies,  the  D.  A.  E. 

The  achievements  of  early  Vernon  must  needs  be  to  the  many 
a  tradition,  to  the  few,  only  a  memory.  The  work  of  our  Puritan 
ancestry  was  essentially  constructive.  They  were  the  precursors 
and  guardians  of  a  new  manhood,  and  as  such,  were  builders  of 
mind,  of  body,  and  of  soul.  The  final  effect  was  not  perfect, 
nor  always  pleasing,  but  citizenship  was  ennobled  in  every  de- 
partment and  life  was  made  richer  for  the  generation  to  come. 



of  the 



Harry  Coxklix   Smith. 

History  is  a  record  of  what  man  lias  done,  a  narrative  of 
past  events.  A  town  history  treats  of  the  rise  and  growth 
of  the  town,  of  the  deeds  of  the  town's  citizens,  the  manners 
and  customs  of  her  people,  from  which  it  gains  its  color  and 
inspiration.  It  also  shows  the  part  the  town  has  taken  in  that 
mighty  forward  and  onward  movement,  called  progress.  Town 
history  is  distinguished  as  early  and  modern.  Usually  it  is  the 
task  of  the  historian  to  trace  the  progress  of  the  town  from  its 
rude  beginnings  to  its  present  strength  and  wealth.  It  should 
be  a  labor  of  love,  and  to  be  properly  done,  it  must  be  the 
work  of  years.  The  history  of  the  town  of  Vernon  has  been 
divided  into  two  parts.  The  first  part,  or  a  summary  of  the 
early  history  of  the  town,  has  been  admirably  presented  to  the 
reader  in  the  preceding  pages. 

Xo  generation  in  the  strictest  sense  can  begin  its  own  work. 
It  reaps  fields  that  have  been  sown  by  others.  To  understand 
what  we  are  today  we  need  to  go  back  to  the  toils  and  hardships 
of  our  ancestors,  the  descendants  of  the  Pilgrim  Fathers.  It 
was  their  rude  schoolhouses  that  prepared  the  way  for  our 
splendid  present-day  system  of  education.  It  was  their  struggle 
for  political  and  religious  freedom  that  gave  us  the  greatest 
republic  on  which  the  sun  ever  shone,  and  our  Xew  England 
town  and  Xew  England  town  meeting,  institutions  that  typify 
freedom  and  democracy.  It  was  their  intense  conviction  of  their 
accountability  to  God  that  fruited  in  the  rugged  virtues  of  Xew 
England  character.  While  we  of  the  present  day,  in  veneration  of 
that  loyalty  to  God,  home  and  country,  which  made  our  ancestors 
industrious,  honest,  self  reliant  and  honored,  strive  to  maintain 
the   splendid   character  of   our   Xew   England   civilization,   the 


problems  that  confront  us  as  a  town  today  are  vastly  different 
from  the  problems  our  fathers  had  to  deal  with  when  the  town 
was  incorporated,  and  for  many  years  after  its  incorporation. 
As  has  been  truly  said,  they  are  no  longer  problems  of  con- 
struction, but  problems  of  maintenance.  In  chronicling  the 
events  of  these  later  days  the  historian  must  deal  with  plain, 
unvarnished  facts,  crowding  a  maximum  of  historic  information 
into  a  minimum  of  space. 

While  it  will  be  necessary  in  some  instances  to  go  a  decade 
or  two  back  of  the  Civil  War  to  properly  describe  conditions 
and  chronicle  events  during  the  modern  period  of  Vernon's  his- 
tory, the  Civil  War  is  the  point  of  demarcation  between  the  early 
and  the  modern  history  of  the  town.  In  the  summary  of  the 
town's  early  history  the  reader  was  given  a  clear  idea  of  what 
Vernon  did  for  her  brave  and  loyal  sons,  who  enlisted  for  the 
war,  and  what  they  in  turn  did  for  their  country.  The  first 
chapter  of  the  modern  history  introduces  the  reader  to  the 
return  of  these  soldiers,  showing  the  conditions  that  existed  in 
the  town  of  Vernon  following  the  war. 

When  the  news  of  Lee's  surrender  to  Grant  at  Appomattox 
reached  Vernon,  there  was  great  rejoicing  and  a  notable 
demonstration.  One  by  one  the  Boys-in-Blue  came  back  to  their 
old  homes  and  their  families,  conscious  of  having  discharged 
the  highest  duty  of  American  citizenship.  Of  the  three  hundred 
enlisted  men  from  Vernon,  who  responded  to  the  great  moral  call 
of  the  Civil  War,  many  lost  their  lives  on  the  various  battlefields 
or  died  of  wounds  in  hospitals  or  elsewhere.  Practically  all  of 
Vernon's  mill  owners  showed  the  right  spirit  toward  their 
employees  who  answered  their  country's  call  in  its  time  of  dire 
need,  and  toward  their  families  who  were  left  at  home,  in 
many  cases  to  battle  with  life  alone.  The  American  Mills' 
conduct  along  these  lines  was  particularly  noteworthy. 


Just  a  third  of  a  century  after  one  of  the  grandest  wars  ever 
fought  by  man  for  man,  the  tocsin  of  war  again  sounded 
throughout  the  land.     This  time  the  United  States  was  forced 


to  teach  Spain  a  lesson.  Because  she  persisted  in  the  practices 
of  the  fifteenth  century  in  the  closing  years  of  the 
nineteenth  century,  refusing  to  advance  with  the  modern 
laws  of  humanity,  we  entered  upon  a  unique  war, 
standing  alone  amidst  all  the  wars  of  history.  The 
young  men  who  marched  through  Rockville's  streets  on 
.May  1.  1898  were  the  exad  counterpart  of  the  young 
men  of  '61.  Never  in  Rockville's  history  was  there 
more  patriotism  displayed  than  when  Company  0  left  for  Nian- 
tic  to  be  mustered  into  the  United  Stales  service.  Over  five 
thousand  people  saw  them  off.  Public  buildings  and  private 
residences  were  covered  with  "Old  Glory,"  business  was  suspended 
and  the  boys  departed  amid  cheers  and  tears.  It  was  a  source  of 
great  satisfaction  to  know  that  the  manufacturers  had  made 
arrangements  to  provide  for  the  families  whose  husbands  or 
other  members  enlisted  for  the  war.  The  sum  of  $25  per 
month  was  given  to  the  married  men  and  $15  per  month  to  the 
single  men.  Company  C  was  the  banner  company  of  the  regi- 
ment, a  greater  percentage  of  its  men  having  passed  the  rigid 
medical  examination,  which  goes  to  show  that  the  men  were 
in  their  prime  and  enjoyed  vigorous  health. 

The  First  Regiment  having  been  assigned  to  the  peaceful 
department  of  the  East,  Company  C  hoys  did  not  get  into  the 
thick  of  the  fight.  They  sacrificed  much,  however.  Some  died, 
while  others  endured  long  sieges  of  sickness.  That  they  did 
not  go  across  the  waters  was  no  fault  of  theirs.  They  offered 
themselves,  as  did  the  boys  of  '61,  for  any  sacrifice  which  might 
be  called  for. 

They  were  gone  away  from  home  a  few  days  over  six  months, 
spending  the  time  after  leaving  Xiantic  at  Jerry's  Point,  Ports- 
mouth, X.  H.  and  Camp  Alger,  Ya.  They  received  a  grand 
ovation  and  reception  on  their  return  to  Rockville  on  the  even- 
ing of  November  9,  1898. 




NIANTIC,   MAY   17,   1898,  BY  LIEUTENANT 

ROWAN,  U.  S.  ARMY. 

Captain — Martin  Laubscher. 

Lieutenants — 1st,  John  Paul  Haun ;  2nd,  Frederick  W.  Chapman 
First  Sergeant — James  H.  Barnett. 

Sergeants — Quartermaster,  Francis  Murray;  Charles  B.  Milne, 
Arthur  W.   Gyngell,   *  James  W.   Milne,  Albert   E.   Usher. 

Corporals — 1st,  William  F.  Schillinger;  2nd,  Webster  Kaye ;  3rd, 
William  M.  Hefferon:  4th,  Arthur  A.  Gerich;  5th,  William  J. 
Breen;  6th,  Albert  E.  M.  Profe. 

Musicians — William  J.   Finley,  Walter  F.   McCray. 

Artificer — Henry   M.    Seipt. 

Wagoner — George  B.   McClellan. 

Privates — George  N.  Aborn,  Charles  R.  Anderson,  Sylvester  E. 
Arnold,  Ernest  E.  Austin,  Albert  C.  Bartlett,  James  A. 
Beaumont,  Charles  E.  Binch,  Richard  Brache.  Frank  S.  Breen. 
Hugo  Broil,  Harry  J.  Brown,  Elmer  W.  Cahoon,  Frank  D. 
Chadwick,  Richard  G.  Champion,  Perlin  L.  Charter,  Wilbur 
F.  Charter,  Jesse  Clift,  William  J.  Connolly,  John  Connors 
2d.,  Jewett  Collum,  Philip  Diedering,  Jr.,  John  Donovan, 
Frank  P.  Dowd,  Francis  F.  Einsiedel,  James  B.  Farrell, 
Francis  P.  Fitzpatrick,  Joseph  H.  Flynn,  Otto  Flossbach, 
David  E.  Fox,  Herman  P.  Franz,  John  E.  Gawtrey,  Thomas 
F.  Golden,  George  F.  Gorham,  *Felix  Gross,  Manville  Grum- 
back,  John  F.  Haun,  John  J.  Hecker,  George  A.  Hewitt, 
Andrew  Eopf,  Squire  Jackson,  James  S.  Jones,  Martin  T. 
Leamy,  Robert  H.  Lehmann,  Jason  D.  Lowell,  Charles  F. 
Ludwig,  James  H.  Lutton,  Joseph  H.  Lutz,  Thomas  P.  Lynch, 
William  E.  Lyons,  Matthew  McNamara,  Philip  J.  Malir, 
Frank  L.  Manion,  Ferdinand  A.  Matthewson,  George  Meyer, 

*Died  of  typhoid  lever,  contracted  while  in  the  service  of  the 
United  States. 


George  H.  Miller,  Thomas  L.  Millot,  Thomas  F.  Moore.  John 
C.  Murphy,  John  L.  Murphy,  John  W.  Murphy,  William  C. 
Murphy,  Patrick  J.  McCollough,  Donald  K.  McLagen,  Matt- 
hew N.  Xahigian,  Thomas  F.  Newbury,  Francis  M.  Norton, 
John  J.  O'Neil,  William  Phillips,  Frederick  J.  A.  H.  Profe, 
James  J.  Quinn,  Robert  H.  Rau,  Charles  H.  Rauschenbach, 
John  Regan,  Emil  R.  Schwerwitzky,  Carl  C.  Schmeiske,  Emil 
W.  Schmeiske,  Ernesl  A.  Sharpe,  Isaac-  Simms,  John  H. 
Smith,  Freedrick  W.  Stengel,  Henry  H.  Tracy,  Eerman  C. 
Wagner,  Charles  J.  Waidner.  Anthony  Wannegar,  Waller  J. 
Willis,  Howard  Winchell. 

Charles  H.  Thrall,  son  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  Julius  S.  Thrall  of 
this  city,  who  was  in  Havana,  Cuba,  previous  t<>  the  outbreak 
of  the  Spanish- American  War,  in  charge  of  an  electric  light 
station,  had  a  thrilling  experience  that  he  is  likely  to  remember 
as  long  as  he  lives.  After  war  had  been  declared,  Mr.  Thrall, 
who  had  been  in  this  country,  set  sail  for  Cuba,  where  he  was 
employed  in  the  interests  of  the  United  States  government  and 
as  a  correspondent  for  the  Xew  York  papers.  He  was  taken  a 
prisoner,  with  others,  at  Salado  Beach  by  two  companies  of 
Spanish  batteries.  He  was  conducted  to  the  Cuban  fortress, 
Morro  Castle,  by  seven  of  the  Civil  Guards  and  confined  there. 
He  was  finally  exchanged.  The  incidents  surrounding  his  cap- 
ture would  form  a  very  interesting  chapter. 

During  the  Spanish-American  War  Dr.  Thomas  F.  Rockwell 
of  this  city  was  major  and  surgeon  on  the  staff  of  General  Charles 
L.  Burdett,  having  volunteered  his  services.  On  May  4.  1898, 
he  was  appointed  post  surgeon  of  the  military  post  at  Xiantic, 
Conn.,  under  Brigadier-General  George  Haven,  and  he  served 
as  consulting  surgeon  in  the  First  Division  Hospital  at  Camp 
Alger,  Va.  His  military  career  has  been  a  long  and  honorable 


Shortly  after  the  close  of  the  Civil  War  a  Grand  Army  Post 
was  organized  in  this  city,  but  owing  to  dissensions  in  the  ranks 
of  its  members  it  was  short  lived.     It  was  one  of  the  pioneer 


posts  of  the  state.  After  its  disbandment,  a  Veterans'  Associa- 
tion was  formed  among  many  of  the  local  veterans  of  the 
Rebellion  to  perpetuate  the  memory  of  departed  soldiers  who 
bad  taken  part  in  the  memorable  conflict  from  '61  to  '65.  Bur- 
pee Post,  Xo.  71,  Department  of  Connecticut  G.  A.  R.  was 
organized  April  23,  1884,  with  twenty-three  charter 
members,  of  whom  the  following  are  living:  A.  Park 
Hammond,  D.  F.  Andrews,  Willard  Griswold,  W.  B. 
Root,  H.  M.  Willis,  J.  H.  Newell,  L.  X.  Charter, 
John  Thompson,  Arthur  A.  Hyde  and  H.  W.  Coye. 
George  X.  Brigham  was  the  first  post  commander  and  Charles 
W.  Wood  the  post's  first  adjutant.  Since  the  organization  of 
the  post  to  the  present  time  one  hundred  and  twenty-five 
veterans  have  enrolled  their  names  on  the  membership 
book.  The  post  is  named  in  honor  of  the  gallant 
Colonel  Burpee  of  the  Twenty-first  Regiment,  Connecticut 
Volunteers,  who  was  killed  at  the  battle  of  Cold  Harbor  on  the 
morning  of  June  9,  1864  while  acting  as  brigade  officer  of  the 
day.  Colonel  Burpee  was  a  Rockville  boy.  Harvey  Davis  is 
the  present  commander  and  Julius  H.  Xewell  is  adjutant. 

Burpee  Woman's  Relief  Corps,  which  has  done  noble  work, 
co-operating  in  a  splendid  manner  with  Burpee  Post,  was  organ- 
ized on  January  15,  1886  with  a  membership  of  about 
twenty-five.  Its  present  membership  is  one  hundred  and 
fifty-three.  Mrs.  Anna  Dickinson  is  president.  It  stood 
first  in  the  state  last  year  in  amount  of  money  given 
for  relief  work. 

Alden  Skinner  Camp,  Xo.  45,  Sons  of  Veterans,  is 
named  in  honor  of  Alden  Skinner,  a  surgeon  of  the 
Twenty-fifth  Regiment,  Connecticut  Volunteers,  who  died 
March  30,  1863,  of  malarious  typhoid  fever,  contracted 
in  the  service  of  his  country.  It  was  organized  May 
7,  1890  with  twenty  charter  members.  William  F. 
Loom  is  was  captain  and  Frank  B.  McPherson,  first  ser- 
geant. Its  present  commander  is  John  Felber  and  its  secre- 
tary is  H.  L.  Symonds. 

Growing  out  of  the  Spanish- American  War  a  camp  of  Spanish 
War  Veterans  was  organized  in  Rockville  on  May  17,  1908,  by 


Department  Commander  Henry  H.  Saunders.  The  camp  is 
known  as  James  \Y.  Milne  Cam]),  in  honor  of  Sergeant  James 
W.  Milne,  who  lost  his  life  as  the  result  of  contracting  typhoid 
fever  in  that  war.  It  started  with  twenty-four  charter 
members  and  its  present  membership  is  thirty-four.  The 
adjutant's  report  at  last  division  encampmenl  showed 
that  the  camp  had  made  the  largesl  gain  in  member- 
ship of  any  of  the  camps.  .Martin  Laubscher  was  the 
firsl  commander,  and  Arthur  \V.  Gyngell  is  the  present  com- 

Back  in  the  early  forties  there  was  a  military  company  in 
Roekville.  It  was  commanded  by  Captain  Chauncey  Hibbard 
and  was  part  of  the  old  state  militia.  Captain  Hibbard  being 
a  natural  drillmaster.  the  company  furnished  many  officers  dur- 
ing the  Civil  War  and  many  men  who  enlisted  in  that  memor- 
able conflict  received  their  first  training  in  this  company,  and 
it  proved  valuable  training.  The  company,  which  was  known 
as  Company  C,  subsequent  to  the  war  finally  disbanded. 
On  February  25,  1890,  a  company  was  organized  in  Roekville 
and  was  accepted  as  a  part  of  the  state  militia,  taking  the 
name  of  Company  C.  The  late  Sheriff  Amass  I'.  Dick- 
inson was  captain.  Frederick  H.  Linker,  first  lieutenant  and 
Martin  Laubseher  second  lieutenant.  For  several  years  the  com- 
pany led  the  regiment  in  figures  of  merit.  The  present  officers 
of  the  company  are:  Captain.  James  11.  Lutton;  first  lieutenant, 
Michael  J.  O'Connell;  second  lieutenant.  Albert  E.  Scharf. 

The  Hammond  Drum  Corps,  organized  by  J.  C.  Hammond, 
Jr.,  brought  fame  to  Roekville  back  in  the  early  seventies.  It 
participated  in  a  great  many  memorable  parades  in  various 
parts  of  the  country.  It  continued  in  existence  for  several  years. 
finally  reorganizing.     It  has  held  several  notable  reunion.-. 

Roekville  has  had  several  good  bands  in  its  history,  but  is 
without  a  local  band  at  the  present  time. 


Snipsic  Lake,  as  a  water  power,  has  contributed  very  largely 
to  the  prosperity  of  the  town  of  Vernon.     Through  its  outlet 


the  winding,  sinuous  Hockanum,  it  pours  down  a 
grade  of  two  hundred  and  fifty-six  feet  to  the  mile 
and  a  half  into  the  valley  below,  furnishing  one  of 
the  finest  and  most  easily  available  water  powers  to  be 
found  in  America.  The  water  possesses  a  superior  quality,  which 
gives  it  a  special  value.  The  supply  is  practically  inexhaustible, 
and  the  descent  is  so  rapid  and  steady  that  the  power  may  be 
used  over  and  over  again,  at  surprisingly  short  intervals.  To 
the  genius  of  "Snip,"  as  it  is  affectionately  known,  Rockville  is 
indebted  for  its  growth  and  development  during  the  past  cen- 
tury. The  beautiful  Hockanum  is  the  magic  wand  which  has 
transformed  an  unfertile,  unpromising,  and  what  appeared  at  one 
time  to  be  a  worthless  tract  of  land,  into  a  thriving  city  of 
substantial  mills,  modern  streets  and  beautiful  residences.  By 
its  invisible  arm,  gravitation,  Snipsic  daily  sets  in  motion  nearly 
a  score  of  water  wheels,  and  for  the  space  of  more  than  a  mile 
the  Hockanum  is  literally  studded  with  shops  and  factories. 
"Snip"  is  the  ruling,  the  motive  ]i>ower,  men  and  machinery  be- 
ing but  the  agents  to  do  its  bidding. 

Aside  from  its  importance  as  a  motive  power  to  run  ma- 
chinery, Snipsic  Lake  is  a  very  interesting  and  attractive  spot. 
Indeed,  situated  as  it  is,  in  the  Tolland  hills,  it  is  one  of  Con- 
necticut's most  beautiful  glimpses  of  forest  and  water.  In  its 
setting  and  adornment  Nature  has  been  most  prodigal  of  her 
charms.  Few  New  England  lakes  surpass  it  in  beauty,  althorigh 
in  size  it  is  not  large,  covering  five  hundred  and  twenty-five 
acres.  The  original  lake  was  half  that.  It  is  five  hundred  and 
fifteen  feet  above  the  sea  level.  Prior  to  1847  Snipsic  dam  was 
five  feet  and  ten  inches  high;  in  184?  ten  feet  were  added;  in 
1864,  seven  feet,  in  1872,  three  feet  and  eight  inches,  making 
the  present  dam  twenty-six  feet  and  six  inches  from  bottom  to 
coping.  From  top  of  the  dam  to  and  including  Windermere 
privilege,  the  Hockanum  River,  fed  by  Snipsic  Lake,  has  a  fall 
of  three  hundred  and  nine  feet. 

The  company's  first  main  in  1847  was  an  8-inch  cement  pipe, 
and  the  first  line  of  pipe  came  down  to  what  was  then  a  reser- 
voir     basin       in      Central      Park.      This      reservoir      basin, 


which  was  piped,  supplied  the  lower  part  of  the  village. 
In  1866  a  12-inch  cast  iron  main  was  laid  in  place  of  the  8-inch 
main.  In  1893  and  1894  a  20-inch  east  iron  main  was  laid, 
which  extends  as  far  as  the  corner  of  West  Main  Street  and 
Vernon  Avenue.  On  Union,  Prospect  and  Brooklyn  Streets 
LO-inch  mains  have  been  laid  and  on  all  the  other  city  streets 
6-inch  mains  are  in  use. 

Snipsic  furnishes  Rockville  with  its  domestic  water  supply, 
which  is  of  great  abundance,  superior  quality,  with  good  gravity 
and  high  pressure  service.  The  business  is  conducted  by  the 
Rockville  "Water  and  Aqueduct  Company,  which  at  the  present 
time  is  largely  composed  of  the  mill  owners  of  the  city.  Originally 
a  stock  affair,  it  was  organized  in  October,  1847,  with  a 
capital  of  $7,000.  The  first  meeting  was  held  at  the 
Leeds  office  on  November  11,  1847.  George  Kellogg  was  the 
first  president  and  Phineas  Talcott  first  secretary  and  treas- 
urer. Tn  1866  the  needs  of  the  village  demanded  better  service 
than  the  old  company  with  its  limited  capital  and  capacity  could 
give.  Having  secured  a  charter  from  the  legislature  at  the  May 
session  in  the  above  named  year,  the  company  was  reorganized 
with  J.  J.  Robinson  as  president  and  .'.  ('.  Eammond,  Jr.,  as 
secretary  and  treasurer.  A.  Park  Hammond  is  the  president  of 
the  company  at  the  present  time  and  J.  C.  Hammond,  Jr.,  the 
present  secretary  and  treasurer,  has  served  the  company  in  this 
capacity  for  forty-four  consecutive  years  —  a  remarkable 
record.  The  company  has  kept  pace  with  the  growth 
of  the  town  and  at  the  present  time  lias  one  hundred 
and  fourteen  city  hydrants,  about  fifty  private  hydrants, 
and  about  twenty  miles  of  pip''.  Prior  to  1894  the 
high  service  was  supplied  by  wells  and  cisterns.  In  1904  the 
present  pumping  station  and  standpipe  were  erected. 

The  office  was  located  in  the  New  England  Mill  until  1877, 
when  it  was  moved  to  a  room  in  the  rear  of  the  Citizens'  Block, 
where  the  post  office  was  then  located.  Since  June.  1890,  it  has 
been  located  on  the  second  floor  in  the  Rockville  National  Hank 


Snipsic  Lake  is  conceded  to  be  the  best  illustration  of  an 
artificial  reservoir  to  be  found  in  Connecticut,  if  not  in  the 

The  most  important  event  in  the  history  of  the  local  water 
company  was  the  consolidation  that  took  place  between  the  old 
Rock vi lie  Water  Power  Company  and  the  Eockville  Aqueduct 
Company.  On  March  1,  1893,  a  special  enactment  drawn  by  the 
late  A.  P.  Hyde  was  obtained  from  the  General  Assembly, 
merging  and  consolidating  the  two  companies.  A  meeting  was 
held  in  the  Rock  Mill  office,  at  which  a  charter  was  adopted.  All 
the  mill  owners  and  manufacturers  were  present,  and  they 
became  interested  in  the  new  company.  Previous  to  the  consoli- 
dation, the  Eockville  Water  Power  Company  had  to  do  largely 
with  water  for  power  purposes,  while  the  Eockville  Aqueduct 
Company  was  interested  principally  in  water  for  domestic  pur- 

Vernon's  era  of  industrial  pursuits  arrived  in  the  early  twen- 
ties. Their  development  during  the  germinating  period,  how- 
ever, was  not  exempt  from  adverse  influences.  "Industries,"  as 
understood  in  our  modern  classification  were  not  any  too  prom- 
inent during  the  early  period  of  the  town's  history,  the  period 
from  the  date  of  the  incorporation  of  the  town  in  1808  down  to 
1845.  As  these  have  been  referred  to  in  the  preceding  pages 
under  the  head,  "Early  History,"  it  isn't  necessary  to  again 
call  attention  to  them.  There  is  a  vast  difference  between  early 
and  modern  industrial  life.  AVith  the  growth  of  the  years  a 
change  swept  over  the  community — a  change  likely  to  sweep  over 
any  community  with  a  similar  environment,  surroundings  and 

The  first  notable  expansion  in  the  industrial  life  of  Vernon 
took  place  in  the  forties,  and  it  can  be  truthfully  said  that  the 
years  1847,  1848  and  1849,  marked  a  distinct  epoch— an  epoch 
of  industrial  progress.  The  mills  built  during  these  years 
greatly  added  to  the  volume  of  business  and  enhanced  the 
material  prosperity  of  the  town.  The  panic  of  1857,  which  was 
national,  paralyzing  industries  all  over  the  country,  hit  Vernon 
bard  and  there  was  an  extended  period  of  business  depression. 


There  was  no  marked  rally  until  the  breaking  out  of  the  Civil 
War,  when  there  was  an  urgent  demand  for  goods  for  army  pur- 
poses. The  Rockville  mills,  like  mills  in  other  places,  had  de- 
sirable contracts.  Those  mills  that  did  not  care  to  take  army 
contracts  found  a  ready  market  for  all  the  goods  they  could 
manufacture.  During  the  years  of  the  war,  and  immediately 
following  the  war  up  to  1865,  times  were  good  and  optimism 
prevailed  in  the  industrial  life  of  the  town.  While  there  was  a 
gradual  growth  and  development,  there  was  no  marked  period 
of  expansion  akin  to  the  expansion  of  '49.  In  the  fifties,  over- 
seers in  the  Rockville  mills  earned  from  -$1.50  to  $2.50  per  day, 
and  other  mill  help  was  paid  in  proportion.  The  salaries  paid 
to  the  mill  officers  were  not  large.  George  Kellogg,  affection- 
ately known  as  "Uncle  George,"  head  of  the  Hock  Mill  for  many 
years,  received  the  very  modest  salary  of  $1,000.  A.  ('.  Crosby, 
superintendent  of  the  same  mill,  received  what  was  considered 
then  a  very  high  salary.  $1,500.  When  Thomas  M.  Barrows 
was  engaged  to  come  to  Rockville  and  manage  the  American 
Mills  at  a  salary  of  $2,500  per  year,  many  of  the  other  mill 
owners  were  actually  scandalized.  After  the  close  of  the  war, 
a  readjustment  took  place  owing  to  changed  financial  conditions. 
When  Lee  surrendered  at  Appomattox,  gold  was  selling  at  270, 
and  the  cost  of  living  had  greatly  increased.  While  naturally 
there  was  an  inflation  in  wages,  it  didn't  begin  to  compare  with 
the  increased  cost  of  living.  From  1865,  up  to  the  present  time, 
Vernon's  industrial  life  has  shown  a  slow  but  healthy  growth. 
Old  concerns  have  passed  away,  new  concerns  have  come,  addi- 
tions and  enlargements  have  been  going  on.  There  have  been 
periods  of  industrial  activity  and  depression.  Small  industries 
have  expanded  into  gigantic  corporations  with  millions  of  capi- 
tal, until  today  the  town  of  Vernon  enjoys  an  international 
reputation  as  a  great  woolen  center. 

At  the  present  time  there  are  twelve  manufacturing  concerns 
in  the  town  of  Vernon  doing  business  on  a  large  scale.  They  are 
for  the  most  part  corporations  chartered  by  the  state.  There  are, 
however,  several  smaller  enterprises  conducted  by  private  firms. 
Of  the  twelve  companies  nine  are  engaged  in  the  manufacture 


of  fine  woolen  and  worsted  goods.  These  are  the  Hockanum. 
Springville,  New  England  and  Minterburn  Mills,  the  Hock 
Manufacturing  Company,  the  American  Mills  Company,  the 
James  J.  Regan  Manufacturing  Company,  Talcott  Brothers  and 
the  Roekville  Worsted  Company. 

The  goods  of  many  of  the  companies  exhibited  at  Chicago 
in  competition  with  the  best  English,  French  and  German  makers 
were  unhesitatingly  pronounced  by  expert  judges  to  be  equal,  if 
not  superior,  to  any  worsted  goods  in  the  manufacturing  depart- 
ment. Thus  as  a  result  of  this  exhibition,  it  has  been  shown 
beyond  peradventure  of  doubt  that,  so  far  as  quality  of  goods 
is  concerned,  our  American  manufacturers  have  nothing  to  fear 
from  foreign  competition,  and  it  has  also  been  proved  that  Rock- 
ville  stands  at  the  very  forefront,  the  products  of  its  woolen 
manufacturing  plants  commanding  world-wide  attention  and 
challenging  the  admiration  of  expert  judges  in  the  woolen  in- 

To  show  the  great  reputation  of  the  goods  produced  in  the 
factories  of  the  Hockanum  Mills  Company,  it  may  be  said  that 
they  have  made  suits  to  be  worn  at  the  inauguration  by  three 
different  presidents  of  the  United  States,  the  Springville  Com- 
pany having  made  the  suit  worn  by  President  Harrison,  the 
Hockanum  Company  the  suit  worn  by  President  Mclvinley,  and 
the  Springville  Company  the  suit  worn  by  President  Roosevelt. 

The  cloth  of  which  these  different  suits  was  made  was  sold 
thereafter  as  among  the  highest  price  fabrics  on  the  market, 
and  were  named  "Inauguration"  cloth,  "Mclvinley'"  cloth  and 
"Presidential"  cloth,  respectively. 

The  cloths  were  all  similar  fabrics,  being  black  undressed 
worsted  made  of  the  very  finest  counts  of  yarn  used  in  men's  wear 
goods.  These  yarns  took  many  months  to  produce,  as  they  were 
from  the  very  finest  selected  wool  that  could  be  obtained  be- 
taking the  very  best  lots  from  an  immense  quantity  of  wool.  The 
goods  were  London  shrunk  at  the  mills  and  were  turned  out  with 
a  very  soft  and  beautiful  finish. 

The  mills  of  this  association  made  the  first  men's  wear  goods 
that  were  produced  in  this  country  from  worsted  yarn.     The 

C"  ' 



HOUSE   WHERE    WOOLEN    MANUFACTURING   was  first  started  in  town  of 


■tar   ■    X 

B  i 

1  '              ■     "»_!     • 




IN  1804,  JOHN  WARBURTON  utilized 
this  "lower"  privilege  as  a  wool- 
carding   plant. 

EIRST    MILL    IN    VERNON— Built    in 
1 79 ">-<>    by    John    Warburton    on   this 


I      I       I        ■        '■ 

4.1  J     fl    I    I     B     1 
i  II  II  II  II  II  I| 

which    Rockville    derives    its    name. 
Old  Rock  Woolen  Factory  erected  in 
J821  by  Colonel  Francis  McLean. 

EIRST  WOOLEN  MILLS  in  Rockville. 
Twin  mills  erected  by  E.  Nash  on 
the   old.  Hockantim  site  about  1814. 


Hockamim  Mill  lias  undoubted  proof  of  this  from  testimony  of 
yarn  manufacturers,  that  their  books  showed  the  first  sales  of 
worsted  yarn  to  any  men's  wear  mills  were  made  to  the  Hock- 

Prior  to  1841-42  the  only  goods  manufactured  by  the  Xew 
England  Mill  were  cotton  warps.  It  was  decided  to  commence 
the  manufacture  of  all-wool  fancy  "Kerseymeres/5  and  the  new- 
looms  came  from  the  original  George  Crompton.  It  was  from 
Mr.  Crompton  that  Captain  Hammond  learned  designing.  The 
Xew  England  Company's  looms  turned  out  the  first  all-wool 
"Fancies"  made  in  America. 

In  1906  the  Hockanum  Mills  Company  was  organized  as  a 
holding  corporation  by  the  stockholders  of  the  Hockanum. 
Springville,  Xew  England  and  Minterburn  Companies,  with  a 
view  to  centralizing  the  business.  The  capital  stock  is 
$6,000,000.  Under  the  new  plan  the  four  mills  combined  for 
the  buying  of  raw  material.  The  selling  of  the  finished  product 
has  also  been  facilitated  by  the  change. 

The  officers  of  the  Hockanum  Mills  Company  at  the  present 
time  are: 

President— F.  T.  Maxwell. 

Vice-President — Robert  Maxwell. 

Secretary  and  Treasurer — William  Maxwell. 

General  Superintendent — David  A.  Sykes. 

Assistant  General  Superintendent — Charles  S.  Bottomley. 

Assistant  Treasurer  and  Paymaster — A.  Park  Hammond. 

Purchasing  Agent — M.  C.  Mason. 

Assistant  Paymaster — George  B.  Hammond. 

Office  Managers — Hockanum.  J.  E.  Maynard;  Xew  England, 
George  B.  Hammond;  Minterburn,  S.  Tracy  Noble. 

Superintendents  —  Hockanum.  Nelson  Little ;  Springville. 
dames  A.  Elliott;  Xew  England.  Frank  Eastwood;  Minterburn, 
Frank  P.  Reiser. 

The  total  yearly  output  in  dollars  and  cents  of  the  four  mills 
in  the  Hockanum  Mills  Company  is  $3,500,000,  and  the  total 
weekly  payroll  is  $14,000. 


A  new  central  office  building  has  just,  been  completed  for  the 
Hockanum  Mills  Company  just  east  of  the  Springville  Mill 
office.  It  is  a  two  and  one-half  story  brick  building  with  brown 
stone  trimmings,  70x50  feet  in  size. 

A  new  dyehouse  has  also  just  been  completed.  It  is  a  one- 
story  brick  and  concrete  building  with  monitor  roof,  having  a 
very  complete  ventilating  system,  which  disposes  of  steam.  It 
is  190x75  feet  in  size. 


The  Hockanum  plant  today  comprises  five  mills,  the  main  one 
being  375x45  feet,  four  stories  high,  built  of  wood  and  brick, 
with  a  wing  180x56  feet,  four  stories,  built  of  concrete  reinforc- 
ed with  steel:  finishing  mill  250x40  feet,  constructed  of  brick: 
dyehouse  75x40  feet,  connected  to  main  mill  four  stories  high. 
There  is  also  a  large  brick  boiler  house  and  engine  house.  The 
plant  uses  about  500-horse  power. 

The  mills  are  equipped  with  156  broad  looms  and  15  sets  of 
cards  and  4,440  spindles.  There  are  also  four  large  tubular 
steam  boilers  of  400-horse  power  and  a  steam  engine  of  350- 
horse  power.  Some  twelve  electric  motors  are  used  doing  away 
with  much  belting  and  shafting.  The  mills  are  equipped 
throughout  with  automatic  sprinklers  and  all  advanced  methods 
for  protection  against  fire.  Employment  is  given  to  325 


The  Springville  mill,  which  was  established  in  1833  by  the  late 
Chauncey  Winchelh  in  1866,  just  a  third  of  a  century  later, 
underwent  a  wonderful  expansion.  At  that  time  the  property 
was  purchased  by  the  late  George  Maxwell  and  the  late  George 
Sykes,  Avho  soon  commenced  the  removal  of  the  old  mill,  replacing 
it  with  a  much  larger  one  of  stone  and  brick,  300  feet  long  and 
45  feet  wide,  with  two  wings,  each  100x50  feet,  and  all  four 
stories  high,  equipped  with  automatic  sprinklers  and  all  up-to- 
date  appliances  for  tire  protection.  Other  buildings  are  the 
dyehouse.  boiler  and  engine  house,  and  storehouse,  all  built  of 


brick  and  modern  and  commodious.  One  hundred  horse  power 
is  developed  by  water  and  600  by  three  Large  steam  boilers.  One 
large  200-horse  power  engine  furnishes  the  steam  power.  A 
75-horse  power  dynamo  and  engine  furnish  the  electric  lights. 
Eight  sets  of  cards  and  135  broad  looms  and  3. .300  spindles 
comprise  the  equipment.  Employment  is  given  to  350  operat- 


The  New  England's  group  of  buildings  on  Vernon  Avenue 
include  a  large  frame  and  brick  structure,  also  dyehouse  and 
boiler  house,  constituting  an  important  factor  in  Rockville's 
industrial  life.  The  finished  product  amounts  t<>  nearly  350,000 
yards  annually. 

The  plant  will  compare  favorably  with  the  other  plants  in 
the  Hockanum  Mills  Company.  Its  equipment  is  first  class  in 
every  respect,  there  being  9  sets  of  cards  at  the  present  time. 
114  broad  looms  and  600  spindles.  The  mill  is  equipped  with 
dynamos  for  providing  their  own  light.  Power  is  furnished  by 
steam  engines  of  225-horse  power.  Employment  is  provided  for 
300  operatives. 

The  old  wooden  water  wheel,  which  has  been  in  use  at  the 
New  England  mill  since  1860,  was  used  for  the  last  time  on 
Thursday,  August  20,  1909.  Work  commenced  on  the  follow- 
ing day  on  the  tearing  out  of  the  old  wheel.  While  the  new 
turbine  water  wheel  was  being  placed  in  position,  the  plant  was 
run  wholly  by  steam  power.  The  completion  of  the  new  turbine 
wheel  is  a  decided  improvement,  the  mill  now  being  run  by 
electric  drive,  the  water  power  being  utilized  to  run  a  generator 
providing  electricity  for  power. 

The  old  mill  wheel,  which  provided  120-horse  power,  was  24 
feet  in  diameter  and  16  feet  wide.  It  was  the  largest  water 
wheel  in  the  city. 


This  is  the  youngest  of  the  four  companies  comprising  the 
Hockanum  Mills  Company.    It  occupies  the  old  site  of  the  Rock- 


ville  Warp  Mills  Company,  being  the  first  plant  on  the  Hockan- 
um  Kiver.  It  was  incorporated  in  1906,  and  after  tearing  down 
the  old  and  dilapidated  buildings  on  the  site,  work  was  com- 
menced on  the  erection  of  a  handsome,  modern  concrete  con- 
struction building,  which  is  likely  to  stand  for  a  generation. 
It  is  the  largest  mill  in  the  city  and  one  of  the  finest  in  New 
England  of  concrete  construction. 

The  main  building  is  300  feet  long  by  06  feet  wide,  five  stories 
high.  It  is  equipped  with  the  latest  approved  automatic  sprinkl- 
ers and  an  improved  steam  plant  of  250-horse  power  has  been 
installed  in  a  boiler  and  engine  house  in  the  rear  of  the  main 
building.  A  chimney  of  concrete  construction  165  feet  high, 
in  connection  with  the  mill,  is  one  of  the  sights  in  the  east  end 
of  Eockville.  Xo  better  lighted  or  ventilated  mill,  manufactur- 
ing woolen  and  worsted  goods  can  be  found  in  the  country. 

Opposite  the  main  mill  is  the  warehouse,  constructed  of  brick, 
100x45  feet,  and  an  office  building  containing  counting  room, 
large  vault,  private  office  and  directors'  room,  lighted  by  elec- 

The  machinery  is  the  very  best  money  can  buy.  The  mill  is 
equipped  with  68  broad  looms  and  there  are  4,080  spindles. 
Employment  is  given  to  225  hands. 


The  plant  of  the  Bock  Manufacturing  Company  comprises 
twelve  buildings  at  the  present  time.  The  main  mill,  which  is 
300  feet  long  and  five  and  one-half  stories  high,  attracts  the  at- 
tention of  all  visitors  to  the  city.  The  equipment  is  modern 
throughout,  including  one  of  the  finest  and  most  up-to-date 
finishing  departments  in  the  country.  The  plant  is  equipped 
with  11  sets  of  carding  machines,  36  spinning  mules, 
102  broad  looms  and  10,000  spindles.  The  company  has  a  valu- 
able \v;iler  power,  having  two  wheels  of  125-horse  power  each, 
and  also  a  steam  engine  of  150-horse  power. 

The  Rock  embraces  what  was  formerly  the  Leeds  Mill  and 
lias  a  large  group  of  buildings  on  West  Main  Street.  Employ- 
ment is  given  to  300  operatives.     The  yearly  output  of  finished 


goods  amounts  to  $1,250,000.     Some  idea  of  the  magnitude  of 

the  business  may  he  gained  from  the  fact  that  the  company 
annually  pays  to  the  New  York,  Xew  Haven  and  Hartford 
Railroad  Company  about  $12,000  in  freight  charges. 

The  Rock  Manufacturing  Company's  product,  fine  coatings, 
thibets,  coverts  and  uniform  cloths,  are  known  far  and  wide  for 
their  tine  texture,  splendid  quality  and  general  excellence. 

The  Rock  Manufacturing  Company  made  the  cloth  worn  by 
President  Benjamin  Harrison  and  Vice-President  Levi  P. 
Morton  at  the  centennial  celebration  of  the  inauguration  of 
Georg  Washington  as  president  of  the  United  States  in  Xew 
York  City,  April  30,  1889. 

The  cloth  is  what  is  known  as  a  "Clay  Twill."  It  was  made 
from  a  very  fine  grade  of  worsted  yarn.  There  were  six  thou- 
sand seven  hundred  ends  and  one  hundred  and  twelve  picks  of 
filling  to  the  inch,  the  dye  being  alozarine. 

Frederick  Swindells,  a  thoroughly  practical  man  in  the  woolen 
business,  familiar  with  every  detail  of  manufacture,  has  been 
with  the  company  since  1891,  first  as  superintendent  and  then 
as  agent.  He  has  been  president  of  the  company  since  1905. 
Arthur  T.  Bissell  is  the  secretary  and  treasurer  and  Frederick 
W.  Swindells,  son  of  the  president,  is  the  superintendent  of  the 

Two  buildings,  180x44,  one  story  high,  of  regular  mill  con- 
struction, were  completed  in  July,  1909.  These  are  used  for 
finishing  purposes. 

A  two-story  regular  mill  construction  building,  80x30  feet  in 
size,  fire  proof,  was  completed  in  December,  1909.  This  is  being 
used  for  a  storehouse. 


Just  east  of  the  business  center  of  the  city  is  the  main  build- 
ing of  the  American  Mills  Company,  one  of  Eockville's  indus- 
trial landmarks.  It  is  one  of  the  largest  buildings  used  for 
manufacturing  in  the  city,  and  is  likewise  one  of  the  old  and 
substantial  concerns,  making  woolen  and  worsted  goods  in  Rock- 


The  plant,  which  is  an  extensive  one.  turns  out  an  enormous 
quantity  of  finished  product.  It  is  equipped  with  the  very  latest 
machinery  and  keeps  abreast  of  the  times  in  every  respect.  The 
mill  has  86  broad  looms,  3  narrow  looms.  Vt  sets  of  cards,  5,000 
spindles.     Its  employees  number  225. 

The  goods  manufactured  by  the  American  Mills  Company  have 
figured  prominently  in  bringing  fame  to  Rockville  as  the  home 
of  fine  woolens  and  worsteds.  Their  superior  quality  has  been 
tested  time  and  time  again  and  found  to  be  of  the  very  highest 
standard.  In  addition  to  its  regular  line  of  fine  fancy  worsteds 
for  men's  wear,  the  American  Mills  Company  manufactures 
standard  and  fancy  carriage  cloths  of  most  novel  effects  in  fancy 
weaves  and  beautiful  colorings  in  whip  cords.  Bedford  cords, 
wide  and  narrow  wales  and  diagonals. 

The  officers  of  the  company  are :  President.  George  Talcott ; 
agent  and  treasurer.  Charles  X.  McLean;  superintendent, 
Edward  F.  Badmington. 


Talcott  Brothers  was  organized  in  1856  by  II.  W.  &  C.  D.  Tal- 
cott. The  property  was  purchased  of  X.  0.  Kellogg,  and  con- 
sisted of  two  mills,  located  respectively  on  an  upper  and  lower 
privilege.  The  upper  mill  was  dismantled  by  the  freshet  of  1869, 
and  the  lower  mill  was  burned  in  the  same  year.  Thereupon 
the  two  privileges  were  consolidated,  and  the  present  mill  erect- 
ed. The  product  was  principally  satinets  up  to  1875  when  a 
change  was  made  to  union  cassimeres.  In  1907  a  grade  of  fine 
woolens  was  added  to  the  line.  In  1882,  H.  G.  Talcott  became 
genera]  manager,  and  M.  H.  Talcott  became  associate  manager. 
John  <i.  Talcott  entered  the  firm  in  1895,  and  C.  Denison  Tal- 
cott in  1903. 


The  James  J.  Regan  Manufacturing  Company,  which  is  one 
of  the  town's  most  important  industries,  has  undergone  a 
marvelous  growth  since  it  was  organized.  Today  the  concern  is 
recognized  as  one  of   the  largest  in   the   Inked   States   in  the 


manufacture  of  knit  goods  for  linings.  It  also  occupies  an 
enviable  position  among  the  woolen  good-  manufacturers  of  the 

The  equipment  of  the  two  mills,  which  comprise  the  plant  of 
the  James  J.  Regan  Manufacturing  Company,  is  thoroughly 
modern,  and  the  product  is  well  known  for  its  high  standard  of 
quality  and  uniformity.  The  company's  policy  has  been  to 
produce  the  best  in  its  line.  Of  late  years  the  business  has 
increased  one  hundred  per  cent. 

The  company  operates  50  looms  and  10,000.  spindles,  and  its 
yearly  output  of  cloth  is  400,000  yards  (woven)  and  1,500,000 
yards  (knit).    The  company  has  350  employees. 

The  officers  of  the  James  J.  Began  Manufacturing  "Company 
are:  President  and  treasurer,  Francis  J.  Regan;  vice-president 
and  assistant  treasurer,  Herbert  J.  Regan.  George  C.  Rice  has 
been  with  the  company  for  a  number  of  years  as  bead  book- 
keeper and  is  a  trustworthy  and  valuable  employee. 


This  is  Rockville's  youngest  industry.  It  is  only  about  a  year 
old.  On  September  6,  1909,  Edmund  Corcoran  of  Philadelphia, 
a  practical  woolen  manufacturer  of  many  years  experience,  pur- 
chased of  A.  X.  Belding  the  brick  mill  on  East  Main  Street, 
known  as  the  Fitch  Mill,  which  previous  to  its  purchase  by  Mr. 
Belding  had  been  part  of  the  James  J.  Regan  Manufacturing 
Company's  plant.  In  December,  1909.  the  incorporators  of  the 
company  organized  by  elected  the  following  officers:  President, 
Frank  E.  Weedon;  vice-president,  Thomas  M.  Corcoran;  secre- 
tary. Parley  B.  Leonard:  treasurer.  Edmund  Corcoran;  assistant 
treasurer,  Thomas  Corcoran,  Jr. 

Sim-e  purchasing  the  so-called  Fitch  Mill.  Mr.  Corcoran  has 
made  numerous  changes  and  what  repairs  were  necessary.  The 
null  was  equipped  with  modern  machinery.  Already  there  are  5'-? 
Knowles  looms  in  operation  and  100  hands  are  employed.  It  is 
the  company's  intention  to  eventually  have  90  looms,  30  on  each 
door.     Within  a  year  or  two  the  company  will  probably  employ 


several  hundred  hands,  making  a  valuable  addition  to  the  city's 
industrial  life. 

The  Rockville  Worsted  Company  produces  high  grade  worsted 
goods  for  men's  wear. 


The  parent  mill  of  Belding  Bros.  &  Co.,  which  is  located  in 
this  city,  was  started  in  1866,  and  it  has  been  enlarged  and  im- 
proved from  time  to  time,  until  today,  it  bears  little  likeness  to 
its  former  self. 

On  March  30,  1909,  Belding  Bros.  &  Co.,  purchased  of  the 
James  J.  Regan  Manufacturing  Company  the  Stone  mill,  for- 
merly known  as  the  White  Mill,  and  Mill  No.  4,  formerly  known 
as  the  Fitch  Mill.  The  latter  was  sold  to  Edmond  Corcoran  of 
Philadelphia  and  has  been  converted  into  a  modern  worsted  mill. 
The  former  mill  has  been  thoroughly  overhauled  and  has  been 
added  to  the  extensive  plant  of  Belding  Bros.  &  Co.,  in  this  city. 
New  floors  have  been  put  in  throughout.  All  the  water  has  been 
put  onto  one  water  wheel,  two  new  250-horse  power  boilers  have 
been  installed  and  a  new  350-horse  power  engine  to  be  used  in 
the  event  of  trouble  with  the  water,  or  if  the  water  should  be  low. 
The  entire  plant  is  to  be  driven  by  electric  power,  about  30 
individual  motors  being  used.  About  10,000  spindles  are  in 
operation  in  the  local  plant  of  Belding  Bros.  &  Co.  and  employ- 
ment is  given  to  400  hands. 

In  addition  to  its  mill  in  this  city,  Belding  Bros.  &  Co.  have 
four  other  mills  in  Belding,  Mich.,  one  in  Petaluna, 
Cal.,  one  in  Northampton  and  one  in  Montreal.  A  large  addi- 
tion is  being  built  to  the  Northampton  mill  at  the  present  time. 
The  plant  is  the  leading  one  in  size  in  the  silk  manufacturing 
world,  but  it  is  not  excelled  by  any  other  plant  in  quality  of 
goods  turned  out.  About  $8,000,000  business  is  done  annually 
by  the  combined  mills  of  this  concern. 

The  officers  of  the  concern  are:  President,  M.  M.  Belding,  jr.: 
treasurer,  M.  M.  Belding;  secretary,  A.  N.  Belding;  assistant 
treasurer,  E.  C.  Young,  Chicago;  assistant  secretary,  E.  F. 
Crooks,  Northampton.  Mass.    Halsey  L.  Allen  is  superintendent 


of   the   local   mill,   having   filled   the   position   for   thirty-eight 


White,  Corbin  &  Co.,  now  one  of  the  divisions  of  the  United 
States  Envelope  Company,  was  established  by  the  late  Cyrus 
White  and  the  late  Lewis  A.  Corbin,  pioneer  envelope  makers  of 
the  country.  They  commenced  in  1855  in  a  small  way,  manufac- 
turing envelopes  in  a  frame  building  83x39  feet,  which  they 
erected.  The  Puffer  machine,  capable  of  turning  out  10,000 
envelopes  a  day,  which  was  considered  a  wonderful  output,  was 
used.  The  business  in  those  days  amounted  to  about  $8,000  per 
annum.  Today  a  business  of  $600,000  yearly  is  done  and  the 
machines  produce  2,000,000  envelopes  per  day. 

The  late  William  H.  Prescott,  whose  services  as  bookkeeper 
and  accountant  had  made  him  indispensable  to  the  firm,  was 
admitted  to  partnership  in  1866,  the  firm's  name  becoming 
White,  Corbin  &  Co.  Under  the  skillful  guidance  of  Mr.  Pres- 
cott, following  the  retirement  of  Mr.  White  in  1870,  the  business 
enjoyed  a  period  of  wonderful  expansion,  until  in  1881  it  had 
assumed  such  proportions  that  it  was  imperative  that  the  com- 
pany should  have  more  room.  The  Florence  Mill,  at  that  time 
one  of  the  largest  and  finest  plants  in  Eockville,  was  purchased, 
and  later  enlarged  by  additions  to  accommodate  the  increasing 

In  1900  White,  Corbin  £  Co.  became  one  of  the  divisions 
of  the  United  States  Envelope  Company,  the  late  W.  H.  Prescott, 
who  had  been  actively  identified  with  the  local  company  and  who 
had  a  genius  for  doing  business  that  made  him  a  recognized 
leader  in  the  industrial  world,  became  a  director  in  1898  and  at 
the  time  of  his  death  in  1908  he  was  a  member  of  the  executive 
committee  of  the  United  States  Envelope   Company. 

Frank  Keeney  is  the  present  agent  of  the  White,  Corbin  &  Co. 
plant  and  E.  H.  Woodford  is  the  superintendent.  The  plant 
gives  employment  to  200  operatives. 



This  important  industry,  which  makes  the  famous  Kingfisher 
brand  of  silk  fish-lines,  was  started  by  the  late  Elisha  J.  Martin 
in  1882,  who  first  made  braided  eye-glass  cords.  He  braided 
some  fish-lines  for  his  friends  and  they  gave  such  satisfaction 
that  he  started  their  manufacture,  renting  room  and  power 
from  Belding  Bros  &  Co.  The  business  developed  so 
rapidly  that  it  was  necessary  to  get  more  room,  and  in  189G  a 
factory  was  erected.  As  the  business  grew  and  prospered  the 
plant  was  enlarged.  The  factory  is  200x30  feet,  two  stories  and 
a  basement,  being  the  most  modern  and  best  equipped  fish-line 
factory  in  this  country.  Power  is  furnished  from  a  100 -horse 
power  steam  boiler  and  a  20-horse  power  steam  engine.  Six 
hundred  power  operated  braiding  machines  are  kept  in  constant 
operation.     The  company  has  25  employees. 

The  E.  J.  Martin's  Sons'  specialties  are  raw  and  finished 
silk  lines,  variegated  waterproof  lines,  mottled  P.  &  S.  lines,  oiled 
silk  lines,  Potomac  bass  lines,  extra  quality  trout  lines,  Italian 
trout  and  bass  lines,  bait  casting  lines,  slickest  casting  lines, 
Italian  casting  lines,  extra  strength  waterproof  lines,  enameled 
oil  silk  fly  lines,  russet  enamel  lines,  mist  color  enamel  lines, 
highest  quality  enamel  lines. 

A.  L.  Martin,  son  of  the  founder,  has  conducted  the  business 
since  his  father's  death  in  1899,  and  under  his  able  management 
it  has  more  than  doubled  its  production,  till  today  it  is  the  leader 
in  silk  fish-lines  in  this  country. 

The  Ackerly  plant  at  Vernon,  formerly  the  Ravine  and 
Phoenix  Mills,  gives  employment  to  about  50  operatives.  Since 
purchasing  the  plant  less  than  two  years  ago,  Mr.  Ackerly  has 
made  several  improvements.  Twine  and  cheese-cloth  are  manu- 
factured.    A  large  and  successful  business  has  been  built  up. 

The  plant  of  the  Vernon  Woolen  Company  was  totally  de- 
stroyed by  lire  on  Tuesday  morning,  October  12,  1909,  making 
serious  inroads  on  the  prosperity  in  the  lower  part  of  the  town. 
The  site  and  privilege  are  for  sale,  the  owners  having  decided  not 
to  rebuild. 



The  Vernon  Creamery  Company,  butter  manufacturers,  was 
incorporated  in  1888  with  a  capital  of  $3,500.  Its  product  is 
known  all  over  the  country,  the  company  having  been  awarded 
numerous  gold  and  silver  medals,  including  first  premium  at  the 
Paris  Exposition.  The  president  of  the  company  is  Alfred  0. 
Thrall  and  the  superintendent  is  Arthur  W.  Annis.  The  plant 
is  located  at  171  High  Street,  corner  of  Vernon  Avenue. 


The  Granite  Paper  Mills,  located  at  Talcottville,  manufacture 
binder  boards,  album  boards  and  leather  boards.  The  mill  is  a 
one-machine  one,  capable  of  turning  out  four  tons  in  twenty- 
four  hours.  Included  in  the  property  are  two  double  tenement 
houses  and  one  single  tenement.  E.  J).  Alvord  and  J.  L.  Brown 
are  the  owners. 

In  addition  to  the  above  named  industrial  enterprises,  there 
are  several  smaller  industrial  enterprises  in  the  town,  conducted 
by  private  individuals,  among  them  being  a  lace  factory  on 
Vernon  Avenue,  owned  and  operated  by  John  U.  Heller  and 


The  Rockville  Gas  and  Electric  Company  had  its  beginning  in 
1862  as  the  Rockville  Gas  Light  Company.  In  1890,  when  the 
electric  department  was  added,  the  name  was  changed  to  The 
Rockville  and  Ellington  Street  Railway  Company,  and  in  1897, 
by  a  legislative  act  the  present  name  was  adopted.  The  late 
George  Maxwell  was  the  founder.  Under  the  present  company. 
the  plant  has  been  enlarged  and  a  great  many  improvements  have 
been  made.  A.  M.  Young  of  New  York  is  president  of  the 
company  and  M.  J.  Warner  of  that  city  secretary  and  treasurer. 
AVilliam  M.  Lewis  is  the  general  manager. 

The  company  has  in  use  4,?00  incandescent  lamps.  80  are 
lamps  and  30  incandescents  in  street  lighting. 



The  transformation  that  has  taken  place  in  the  methods  of 
transportation  in  the  town  of  Vernon  since  its  incorporation  is 
certainly  marvelous.  The  good  old  days — the  days  of  the  tav- 
ern and  stage  coach — have  gone,  and  with  them,  much  of  the 
spirit  of  neighhorliness  and  human  interest.  The  fascination 
that  characterized  early  day  traveling  has  largely  disappeared 
with  the  advent  of  steam  and  electric  power.  The  whirligig  of 
time  is  moving  onward  and  it  will  be  hardly  a  greater  change  for 
the  next  generation  to  travel  by  aeroplane. 

The  late  Harvey  King,  who  owned  and  occupied  a  portion  of 
what  is  now  the  St.  Bernard  Terrace  property,  was  the  pro- 
prietor of  the  stage  route  between  Eockville  and  Vernon  Depot, 
and  George  Brown,  here  in  our  midst  today,  hale  and  hearty,  a 
venerable  old  gentleman,  beloved  by  the  entire  community,  was 
wont  to  pull  the  ribbons  over  the  four  large  horses  that  drew 
the  stage.  Mr.  King  kept  from  twenty  to  thirty  horses  for  his 
different  stage  routes.  One  of  these  routes  extended  from  Eock- 
ville to  "Warehouse  Point,  which  Avas  the  nearest  railroad  center. 
The  late  Thomas  Blake,  one  of  Bockville's  famous  old  fire  fight- 
ers, who  had  the  proud  distinction  of  running  Hartford's  first 
fire  propeller,  was  driver  of  this  line.  Among  other  stages  was 
one  from  Eockville  to  Hartford,  also  a  line  from  Norwich  to 
Springfield  through  Eockville  and  one  from  Eockville  to  Tol- 
land. It  took  from  two  and  a  half  to  three  hours  to  drive  into 
Hartford.  The  trip  in  and  out  was  made  in  the  same  day. 
Usually  the  stage  left  about  8  :30  o'clock  in  the  morning  and 
got  into  Hartford  before  noon.  The  start  from  Hartford  on 
the  return  trip  was  made  about  four  o'clock  in  the  afternoon. 
Practically  all  the  mails  were  carried  by  the  stage  coach.  There 
were  two  large  barns  connected  with  the  hotel,  where  from 
forty  to  fifty  horses  were  kept.  The  stages  which  were  high 
class  affairs,  costing  a  good  bit  of  money,  would  carry  from 
thirty-five  to  forty  passengers,  with  baggage.  From  four  to 
six  horses  were  used  and  the  driver  would  swing  them  around 
in  front  of  the  Eockville  House  with  all  of  the  dignity  of  a 

fARBURTON  [NN— Built  and  occu- 
pied by  John  Warburton  in  1800. 
This  photograph   was  taken   in    L867. 




-  !■ 


where  "Bije"  Evans,  one  of  the  town 
characters  in  early  days,  fiddled  for 
"the   breakdown." 

'IRST    FIRE   FIOHTERS    IN   CONNECTICUT— "Old  Fire  Kins,"  with  which 
is    related    most   of   the   narratives  of  heroism   in    Vernon   and   Rockville. 


railroad  president,  while  the  horn  which  be  carried  would  an- 
nounce his  arrival.  It  was  nothing  short  of  criminal  for  the 
mails  to  be  late,  and  it  was  therefore  up  to  the  stage  coach  driver 
to  see  that  there  were  no  delays.  The  daily  paper,  along  with 
the  letters,  came  by  stage  route,  and  as  far  back  as  the  early 
thirties  the  Hartford  Courant,  which  was  an  especially  good 
paper  for  those  times,  was  a  welcome  visitor  and  one  of  the 
daily  pleasures  was  waiting  for  the  stage  coach  to  arrive  with 
the  mail.  News  did  not  travel  as  fast  in  the  early  days  as  it 
does  now,  and  there  was  an  eagerness  and  expectancy  to  get  a 
newspaper  to  see  what  was  going  on  in  the  world.  From  1849, 
when  the  Hartford,  Providence  and  Fishkill  Eailroad  was  opened, 
the  stages  ran  from  Eockville  to  Vernon  instead  of  from  Rock- 
ville  to  Hartford,  and  in  1863,  when  the  Eockville  Eailroad  was 
built  the  stage  coach  was  no  more.  Its  days  of  usefulness  were 
about  over  and  it  became  an  affectionate  reminder  of  an  age 
that  had  its  compensations  as  well  as  its  drawbacks. 

Among  some  of  the  famous  taverns  of  the  early  days  around 
which  are  associated  many  facts  of  great  historic  interest,  may  be 
mentioned  King's  Stage  House,  now  the  town  almshouse,  "Waffle 
Tavern,  which  for  many  years  was  owned  and  occupied  by 
Lorenzo  E.  Sparrow  on  South  Street  and  the  Sullivan  house  at 
Dobsonville.  The  old  hotel,  the  first  public  house  in  Eockville, 
built  in  1843  by  William  T.  Cogswell  on  the  site  of  the  present 
Eockville  House,  was  a  lively  place  during  the  stage  coach  days. 
It  was  headquarters  for  many  of  the  stages.  The  first  landlord 
was  Asaph  McKinney,  who  kept  it  for  three  and  one-half  years, 
when  he  was  succeeded  by  Francis  Keeney,  father  of  Mrs.  W.  H. 
Prescott.  Both  landlords  were  popular  with  the  public  during 
the  later  period  of  the  stage  coach  days.  Among  the  old  stage 
coach  drivers  may  be  mentioned  the  following:  "Joev  Phelps, 
father  of  Lester  D.  Phelps,  Dwight  Cabot.  Frank  Johnson,  Lin- 
coln Childs,  John  Talcott,  and  Harvey  Perrin.  Among  the  stage 
drivers  of  a  later  generation  were  Harvey  King,  Thomas  Bl°ke 
and  George  M.  Brown,  the  only  one  of  the  stage  coach  drivers 
living  today. 


Eockville  was  without  a  railroad  of  any  kind  until  in  the 
sixties.  The  four  and  one-half  mile  coach  and  teaming  space  to 
Vernon  Depot  began  to  seem  long,  and  so  enterprising  citizens 
decided  to  get  a  move  on,  to  use  the  vulgar  parlance  of  the  pres- 
ent day,  and  preparations  were  commenced  to  find  a  way  "out  of. 
the  woods."  To  William  B,  Orcutt,  the  people  of  Vernon  are 
indebted  for  bringing  civilization  a  little  nearer  to  Eockville  and 
Eockville  a  little  nearer  to  civilization.  He  was  the  energetic 
promoter  of  the  road,  which  became  known  as  the  Eockville 
Railroad,  and  did  more  than  any  other  one  man  to  get  it  started. 
It  was  built  by  a  chartered  company  and  the  stock  was  all  own- 
ed in  Eockville.  While  the  charter  for  the  road  was  procured 
from  the  legislature  in  1857,  it  was  some  five  years  later  when 
the  company  was  organized,  with  the  following  directors :  Phineas 
Talcott,  Allen  Hammond,  George  Kellogg,  E.  B.  Preston,  and 
William  E.  Orcutt.  Phineas  Talcott  was  president  and  E.  P>. 
Preston,  clerk  and  treasurer.  The  late  William  E.  Orcutt  <vas 
the  road's  first  superintendent.  The  road  was  opened  for  travel 
August  11,  1863,  right  in  the  midst  of  the  Civil  War.  The  first 
conductor  was  Amos  H.  Putnam  and  a  Mr.  Golden  was  the  first 
engineer.  George  M.  Brown  was  the  first  baggagem aster.  For 
seventeen  years  he  was  in  the  employ  of  the  Adams 
Express  Company,  carrying  the  mail  to  and  from 
the  post  office  until  the  New  York  and  New  England 
Eailroad  Company  took  the  road  over.  John  Shanley 
was  the  first  brakeman  and  "Sam"  Eaton  the  first  fire- 
man. In  these  days  the  little  ticket  office  was  about  two  thirds 
its  present  size.  It  was  used  as  a  freight  office,  and  in  April, 
1864,  Edward  E.  Pillsbury  entered  the  freight  office  and  -at- 
tended to  the  books,  selling  tickets  part  of  the  time.  He  served 
the  company  with  marked  fidelity  for  a  period  of  seventeen 
years.  Betiring  from  the  railroad  company,  he  took  up  the 
transformation  of  that  part  of  the  city  known  as  Pillsbury  Hill. 

On  the  first  Monday  in  October,  1869,  while  the  town  oh' 
Vernon  was  voting  money  out  of  the  town  treasury  for  town 
expenses  a  big  washout  occurred  doing  hundreds  of  thousands 
of  dollars  worth  of  damage  to  property  belonging  to  the  town 
and    individuals  and   ruining  the  Eockville   Eailroad.     As   the 


company  had  no  money  and  as  the  Hartford,  Providence  and 
Fishkill  Eoad  made  a  very  tempting  proposition,  it  was  thought 
best  to  accept  it  and  the  Eockville  Railroad  was  leased  to  the 
above  company  and  run  by  them  for  about  fifteen  years.  After- 
ward it  was  leased  by  the  New  York  and  New  England  Company, 
which  paid  a  rental  of  about  $4,500.  For  several  years  it  was 
operated  by  the  "Consolidated,"  the  company  simply  paying  a 
nominal  rent  for  it.  In  1875  the  Connecticut  Central  Road  was 
built  from  East  Hartford  to  Springfield,  and  there  was  a  branch 
from  Eockville  to  Melrose,  known  as  the  Melrose  Branch,  which 
made  connections  with  the  Connecticut  Central.  Eventually  all 
these  roads  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  Xew  York,  Xew  Haven 
and  Hartford  Railroad  Company. 

People  living  here  today  can  recall  the  little  "Betsy"  and 
"Schenipsit"  locomotives,  nicknamed  teakettles,  so  small,  (hat  it 
has  been  said  that  if  they  jumped  the  track,  the  passengers  would 
gel  out  and  assist  in  putting  them  back  on  again. 

A  whole  chapter  could  easily  be  devoted  to  the  various  men 
in  the  employ  of  the  Eockville  Railroad  Company  nearly  fifty 
years  ago,  but  limited  space  forbids  but  a  passing  reference  to  a 
few.  Amos  H.  Putnam  succeeded  W.  R.  Orcutt  as  superintendent 
of  the  road.  Henry  Vanness  must  not  be  forgotten.  He  is  a  real 
old-timer,  whose  railroad  career  dates  back  into  the  teaming 
time,  when  the  late  "Father"  Corey  ran  a  teaming  line  into 
Hartford.  Mr.  Yanness  commenced  work  for  the  railroad  com- 
pany September  1,  1864,  in  the  freight  department.  He  served 
in  this  department  about  three  years  and  was  then  given  the  po- 
sition of  baggage  master  and  brakeman.  At  that  time  the 
company  sent  a  combination  car  through  to  Hartford  to  save 
the  transfer  of  passengers  and  baggage  at  Yernon.  He  was  in 
charge  of  this  car  for  about  nine  years.  He  also  acted  as  brake- 
man  and  switchman  in  the  yard  at  Eockville.  A.  H.  Putnam, 
who  was  superintendent  of  the  branch,  also  conducted  the  trains. 
Owing  to  poor  health  Mr.  Putnam  did  not  feel  able  to  protect 
the  last  runs  so  he  permitted  Mr.  Yanness  to  do  it  for  him.  The 
last  run  in  at  that  time  was  about  eleven  o'clock  at 
night.        In       August,       1879,       Mr.       Yanness       commenced 


running  the  train  regularly,  making  about  twenty-eight 
years  he  served  as  conductor.  On  January  1,  1880 
he  received  from  his  Eockville  friends  and  others  along 
the  line  between  Eockville  and  Hartford,  a  solid  gold  badge, 
representing  a  lantern  and  containing  a  single  diamond  to  repre- 
sent the  light.  It  bore  the  complimentary  inscription  "Semper 
Paratus."  The  late  "Father"  Corey  did  teaming  for  the  mills 
in  the  early  days  of  the  town,  Henry  was  in  his  employ.  He 
was  the  only  driver  he  had  that  he  didn't  worry  about  when 
he  didn't  get  back  on  time.  He  knew  Henry  was  doing  his  best 
at  all  times.  In  his  long  acquaintance  with  him  he  said  often 
to  friends  that  he  never  knew  Henry  to  swear,  tell  a  lie,  drink 
or  forget  an  errand.  When  the  road  was  leased  to  the  New 
England  it  was  necessary  for  Henry  Vanness  to  get  a  certificate 
of  character,  so  to  speak,  and  the  best  recommendation  his  towns- 
men could  give  him  was  the  one  given  by  "Father"  Corey,  his 
former  employer,  and  it  was  accordingly  embodied  in  a  letter 
sent  in  by  one  of  the  officials  of  the  Eockville  Eailroad. 

On  May  24,  1907  the  railroad  company  retired  Mr.  Vanness 
on  a  liberal  life  pension  in  recognition  of  his  faithful  and  effi- 
cient service,  he  having  been  connected  with  the  company  in 
various  capacities  for  a  period  of  nearly  forty-three  years.  So 
far  as  known,  he  was  the  only  colored  railroad  conductor  in  the 
country.  Mr.  Vanness  is  living  in  our  midst  enjoying  the  respect 
and  esteem  of  all. 

Although  there  was  a  branch  railroad  from  Eockville  to  Ver- 
non, connecting  with  trains  going  west  to  Hartford  and  points 
beyond,  and  going  east  to  Willimantic  and  points  beyond,  the 
facilities  for  getting  in  and  out  of  Eockville  were  very  meager 
until  within  the  past  decade.  The  town  of  Vernon  and  city  of 
Eockville  had  no  trolley  until  1898.  On  Saturday,  January  8,  of 
that  year  Eockville  became  connected  with  the  outside  world  by 
trolley.  On  that  day  the  first  car  was  run  by  the  Hartford, 
Manchester  and  Eockville  Tramway  Company.  It  was  a  memor- 
able and  never  to  be  forgotten  day  in  the  town's  history,  and 
marked  a  new  epoch  in  transportation.  Owing  to  many  obstacles 
that  had  to  be  overcome  the  trolley  was  a  long  time  coming,  and 

BUILT   IN   1S09 — Homestead   of  Ozias  Grant     (.11     the    site    of    original    lot; 
cabin  built  by  Samuel  Grant,  which    was    the    first    house   in    Rockville. 

First  hotel  in  Vernon,  called 
"Waffle"  Tavern  because  of  famous 
waffles     that     were     cooked     there. 

OLD     KING     STAGE     HOUSE     where 
Marquis    Lafayette    stopped    on    his 
visit     to     the      United     States  . 

In    the    Railroad    Service    for    Nearly     Forty-three  Years.     Retired  May  24, 
1907,  on  Liberal  Life  Pension.  (Courtesy  of  Rockville  Journal), 


when  it  actually  arrived  there  was  genuine  rejoicing  and  the 
patronage  from  the  outset  was  large.  In  January,  1906  the  New 
York,  New  Haven  and  Hartford  Railroad  Company  assumed 
control,  having  purchased  the  road  from  the  Shaw  Syndicate. 
The  road  today  is  operated  under  the  name  of  the  Connecticut 

The  opening  of  the  trolley  road  from  Warehouse  Point  to 
Eockville  forms  an  interesting  chapter  in  the  transportation  his- 
tory of  the  town  of  Vernon  and  was  an  event  of  much  importance 
to  Ellington  people,  whose  transportation  facilities  for  reaching 
Eockville  up  to  this  time  were  very  meager.  The  first  car  over 
the  road  reached  Eockville  about  one  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  on  May  18,  1906.  The  road  was  opened 
to  regular  traffic  on  Sunday,  May  20.  The  week 
beginning  May  21  marked  a  notable  celebration  in  which 
Eockville  business  men  rejoiced.  During  the  day  the  city  was 
gaily  decorated  and  at  night  the  illuminations  were  brilliant,  all 
in  honor  of  the  opening  of  the  road.  There  were  free  band 
concerts  and  free  vaudeville  day  and  evening  for  an  entire  week, 
with  big  crowds  of  people  on  the  streets.  The  week  ended  with 
a  firemen's  parade  and  muster. 

Wednesday,  December  4,  1907  the  first  interurban  car  arrived 
in  Eockville.  It  reached  the  city  at  3  :42  o'clock,  coming  from 
East  Hartford.  The  trip  out  was  uneventful.  It  was  not  until 
Sunday,  January  13,  1908  that  the  interurban  service  was  for- 
mally opened  to  the  public.  The  first  interurban  car  to  leave 
the  Eockville  depot,  over  the  electrified  steam  tracks,  was  No. 
3339,  which  pulled  out  at  seven  o'clock  in  the 
morning  in  charge  of  Conductor  P.  T.  Beaucar 
and  Motorman  Edward  M.  Thrall.  Conductor  Whetstone 
of  the  Highland  Division  acted  as  pilot.  George  Cleve- 
land, of  Dobsonville,  who  boarded  the  car  at  Eockville,  had  the 
honor  of  being  the  first  passenger.  He  rode  as  far  as  Vernon. 
Miss  Imogene  Corbin,  now  Mrs.  John  P.  Cameron,  was  the  first 
woman  passenger.  To  many  of  the  older  residents,  who  had  been 
in  the  habit  of  hearing  the  locomotive  whistle  for  nearly  half 
a  century,  the  doing  away  of  the  steam  trains,  so  far  as  Eockville 
is  concerned,  was,  indeed,  a  novelty. 


The  new  trolley  line  between  Eockville  and  Stafford  Springs 
was  officially  inspected  by  the  railroad  commissioners  of  the 
state  on  Friday,  April  17,  1908.  Four  days  previous  to  this,  a 
car  containing  trolley  officials  went  over  the  road.  It  was  in 
charge  of  Conductor  S.  J.  Connors  and  Motorman  "Dick" 
Thrall.  People  decorated  their  houses  all  along  the  route,  and 
there  was  general  rejoicing.  Through  the  courtesy  of  Manager 
W.  P.  Bristol,  of  the  Hartford  Division  of  the  Connecticut  Com- 
pany, a  party  of  Eockville  business  men  and  newspaper  represen- 
tatives went  over  the  road  on  Saturday  afternoon,  April  18,  fol- 
lowing a  tour  of  inspection  of  the  line  within  the  city  limits  on 
the  preceding  day,  by  Alderman  David  Horgan,  chairman  of  the 
Public  Works  Committee,  and  City  Engineer  John  T.  McKnight. 
On  Monday,  April  20,  the  road  was  formally  opened  to  regular 
traffic,  and  Stafford  Springs  recognized  the  event,  which  meant 
much  to  them,  bringing  them  into  closer  touch  with  Rockville 
and  the  outside  world,  by  a  notable  celebration,  in  which  Rockville 
shared  with  Stafford  in  the   rejoicing  and  merrymaking. 

The  first  post  office  in  Rockville  was  started  during  the  ad- 
ministration of  President  -John  Tyler.  Previous  to  that  time  the 
community  had  no  name.  It  was  made  up  by  counting  the  mills 
and  houses  belonging  to  each  corporation.  There  were  several 
small  localities  known  by  different  names,  to  wit :  Rock,  New 
England  and  Stone  Mills,  Paper  Mill,  Leeds  Mill.  Grist  Mill. 
Frank  Factory,  Springville,  Hockanum  and  Saxony  Mills. 
People  coming  into  the  city  from  the  outside  would  say,  "I  am 
going  to  the  Rock."  To  this  day  that  name  is  used  by  many 
of  the  earlier  settlers  and  older  inhabitants.  Naturally  there 
was  some  strife  before  a  name  was  selected.  Each  of  the  cluster- 
ing villages  around  the  several  mills  desired  to  have  its  own  name 
adopted.  There  was  a  strong  desire  on  the  part  of  many  influ- 
ential people  to  have  the  place  named  Frankfort,  in  honor  of 
Colonel  Francis  McLean.  It  was  nip  and  tuck  between  the 
Rock  and  Frank  villages,  but  the  question  was  put  to  a  vote  and 
"nip"  won  out  and  the  place  was  named  Rockville,  after  the  Rock 
Factory,  the  pioneer  factory  of  the  place.  Samuel  P.  Rose,  who 
was  the  first  postmaster,  received  his  appointment  May  5,  1842. 


Previous  to  this,  for  a  year  or  two  at  least,  the  mail  had  been 
brought  from  Vernon  and  distributed  by  him.  The  first  post 
office  was  located  in  a  store,  which  stood  nearly  opposite  the 
Johnson  Building  on  what  is  now  ( 'entral  Park.  George  Talcott, 
now  president  of  the  First  National  Bank,  was  clerk  for  awhile. 
In  1844  the  Moore  Building  was  erected,  which  stood  next  to 
the  present  Methodist  Church  on  the  Memorial  Site,  and  for 
sometime  previous  to  its  being  pulled  down  was  occupied  by 
Carroll  and  McDonnell.  This  building  was  occupied  by  Samuel 
P.  Rose  and  Edwin  McLean,  and  it  is  presumed  that  the  office 
was  kept  here  for  a  brief  period, 

Mr.  Rose's  appointment  did  not  expire  until  June  4,  1845. 
The  old  building  vacated  by  Mr.  Rose  was  in  1845  fitted  up  for 
tenements  and  moved  to  the  site  of  the  present  high  school,  being 
the  old  corner  building,  which  was  pulled  down.  The  second 
post  office  was  opened  in  the  house  owned  and  occupied  now  by 
Miss  Minerva  Stewart  on  East  Main  Street.  Her  father,  who 
was  a  Democrat,  a  rarity  in  those  days,  was  the  second  post- 
master. During  the  incumbency  of  Postmaster  Stewart  there 
were  only  about  half  a  dozen  stores  in  the  village.  There  was 
no  railroad.  Goods  were  brought  from  Hartford,  the  nearest 
station,  by  teams.  The  population  of  the  village  was  less  than 
1,500.  It  had  a  hotel,  but  no  saloon,  steam  cars  were  not  within 
hearing  distance. 

The  Rockville  post  office  became  a  presidential  one  on  March 
11,  1865. 

The  postmasters  of  Rockville  with  the  location  of  the  post 
offices,  from  the  time  the  office  was  first  established  up  to  the 
present  time,  follow: — 

Samuel  P.  Rose,  1842-'45,  Johnson  Building,  Central  Park 
and  Moore  Building  on  present  Memorial  Building  Site :  James- 
Stewart,  1845-'49,  in  ell  of  house  at  147  West  Main  Street,  still 
standing;  Edward  McLean.  1849-'53,  Moore  Building,  next  to 
present  Methodist  Church;  Edward  P.  Allen,  1853-'57,  in  small 
building  on  what  is  now  the  site  of  the  James  J.  Regan  Manu- 
facturing Company  and  also  in  basement  of  Rockville  Hotel  for 
a  short  time;  William  11.  Cogswell  185T-'61.  in  drug  store  of  old 


Cogswell  Building,  the  site  of  which  is  next  north  of  Preston's 
furniture  store;  A.  W.  Tracy,  1861-^65,  in  what  is  now  Eockville 
Hotel  barn,  which  stood  on  site  of  present  People's  Savings  Bank 
on  Park  Street.  For  sixteen  years  the  post  office  was  located  in 
this  building,  being  moved  to  the  Citizens'  Block  in  1879.  Since 
1903  it  has  been  located  in  the  Prescott  Block.  There  is  a  resolu- 
tion now  before  congress  calling  for  an  appropriation  of  $75,000 
for  a  new  Federal  building  for  Eockville.  Favorable  action  is  ex- 
pected and  it's  a  question  of  only  a  short  time  when  Eockville 
will  have  its  post  office  in  a  new  building  owned  by  the  govern- 

George  N.  Brigham  was  postmaster  from  1866  to  1886,  having 
served  longer  than  any  postmaster  in  the  history  of  the  office. 
When  he  retired  he  was  given  a  testimonial  by  the  citizens  of 
the  city.  He  was  succeeded  by  Wilbur  B.  Foster,  who  served 
from  1886  until  1890,  when  George  W.  Eandall  was  appointed, 
holding  the  office  from  1890  until  1894,  when  Mr.  Foster  again 
took  hold,  owing  to  a  political  change  in  the  administration. 
Postmaster  Eandall  has  beeen  in  charge  from  1899  to  the  pres- 
ent time.    E.  L.  McChristie  is  the  present  assistant  postmaster. 

The  business  done  at  the  post  office  today  amounts  to  about 
$17,000  per  annum.  There  are  three  clerks  and  five  carriers, 
and  four  rural  free  delivery  routes. 


The  financial  history  of  the  town  of  Vernon  properly  begins 
with  the  year  1855.  No  pressing  or  urgent  need  of  financial  in- 
stitutions was  felt  previous  to  that  time.  Money  was  about  as 
scarce  a  commodity  as  there  was  in  the  community.  It  didn't 
begin  to  change  hands  as  often  as  it  does  today.  Generally 
speaking,  people  carried  what  money  they  had  in  their  pockets 
or  in  improvised  banks.  Safe  deposit  vaults  for  valuable  papers 
and  documents  were  a  luxury.  The  woolen  mills  comprised  the 
principal  business  of  Vernon  and  yearly  settlements  were  the 
rule  with  them.  Goods,  oftener  than  money,  represented  the 
basis  of  settlement  for  services  rendered,  and  as  nearly  all  the 
owners  of  the  woolen  mills  were  interested  in  the  few  stores 
there  were  in  the  community,  Vernon  was  what  might  be  called 


a  close  corporation  in  its  early  days.  Her  captains  of  industry 
were  also  her  financiers.  Of  course  if  the  mill  employees  wanted 
money  instead  of  its  equivalent  before  the  year  was  up,  they 
went  to  the  mill  office  after  it,  and  they  seldom  came  away 
disappointed.  The  absence  of  a  system  of  regular  payments  did 
not  put  the  town  to  any  great  inconvenience,  nor  was  the 
paucity,  or  entire  lack  of  local  financial  institutions,  any  serious 
drawback.  What  little  banking  business  the  town  of  Vernon  did 
in  the  early  days  was  done  with  the  Tolland  County  Bank, 
which  was  a  substantial  and  influential  financial  institution, 
with  an  extensive  business  and  clients  in  all  parts  of 
the    county. 

The  above-described  conditions  in  the  town  of  Vernon  con- 
tinued in  existence  until  about  1848-49,  when  new  and  larger 
mills  were  built,  at  which  time  the  monthly  payment  system 
was  adopted,  continuing  in  operation  until  1887,  when  a  week- 
ly payment  law  enacted  by  the  state,  went  into  effect.  The 
Bock  Mill  took  the  initiative  in  establishing  monthly  payments 
and  all  the  other  mills  followed  suit. 

Frenzied  finance  has  always  been  tabooed  in  Rockville.  Rock- 
ville's  financial  institutions,  from  the  time  of  their  establishment 
up  to  the  present  moment,  have  been  as  strong  and  as  sound 
as  the  hills  upon  which  the  city  is  built.  Conservatism  has 
characterized  the  management  of  the  local  banks.  Starting  in  a 
small  way,  the  four  banks,  two  savings  banks  and  two  national 
banks,  which  Rockville  boasts  of  at  the  present  time,  have  kept 
pace  with  the  city's  development  and  progress.  No  effort  has 
been  made  to  push  them.  Their  growth  has  been  entirely  natural. 
For  a  place  its  size,  Vernon  occupies  an  enviable  position  in 
the  financial  world.  The  men  connected  with  the  management 
of  her  financial  institutions  have  reason  to  be  proud  of  the 
present  financial  status  of  these  institutions.  They  have  done 
their  share  to  make  them  what  they  are  today. 

The  Savings  Bank  of  Rockville  was  incorporated  in  the  year 
1S58,  a  charter  having  been  obtained  at  the  May  session  of  the 


legislature.  The  bank  opened  its  doors  for  business  on  the  first 
day  of  September  in  the  year  in  which  it  was  incorporated.  Its 
first  banking  house  was  in  the  frame  building  on  West  Main 
Street,  known  formerly  as  King's  store,  now  owned  by  'the  James 
J.  Regan  Manufacturing  Company.  In  December,  1872,  it  was 
moved  to  its  present  quarters  on  Main  Street  beneath  the  large 
Methodist  Church  and  facing  Central  Park.  George  Kellogg 
was  the  bank's  first  president  and  Lebbeus  Bissell,  father  of  Ar- 
thur T.  Bissell,  the  first  secretary  and  treasurer.  He  served 
forty-five  consecutive  years — a  record  unequaled — death  ending 
his  official  career  with  the  bank  in  October,  1903,  at  the  ripe  old 
age  of  ninety-three  years. 

During  the  first  year  of  the  bank's  business  the  deposits 
amounted  to  $65,384,  and  there  were  528  depositors.  At  the 
present  time  the  bank's  assets  are  $3,080,681  and  the  depositors 
number  5,734  with  total  deposits  of  $2,812,716.38.  From  the  time 
it  started  to  do  business  fifty-two  years  ago,  up  to  the  present 
time,  the  bank  has  issued  28,884  pass  books. 

The  present  officers  of  the  bank  are:  President,  William 
Maxwell ;  vice-president,  George  Talcott ;  secretary  and  treasurer, 
Arthur  T.  Bissell;  assistant  treasurer,  Edwin  G.  Butler. 


The  People's  Savings  Bank  was  started  in  the  year  1870.  It 
opened  its  doors  for  business  in  July  of  that  year.  It  was  located 
in  what  is  now  Preston's  furniture  store  which  at  that  time 
stood  on  Park  Place,  where  the  store  of  the  E.  J.  Silcox  Company 
is  now  located.  In  1880,  soon  after  the  completion  of  the  pres- 
ent modern  block,  known  as  the  Henry  Building,  it  was  moved 
to  its  present  location.  John  W.  Thayer,  who  became  prominent 
in  the  business  and  political  life  of  Vernon,  was  the  bank's  first 
president  and  E.  S.  Henry  was  the  bank's  first  treasurer.  He 
has  served  the  bank  in  this  capacity  for  a  period  of  forty  con- 
secutive years.. 

Another  unique  distinction  has  come  to  the  bank.  It  has  a 
woman  secretary  and  director,  Miss  Susie  Harrington,  who  has 
filled  the  position  in  a  most  efficient  manner  for  twenty  years. 


During  the  first  year  of  the  bank's  existence  the  deposits 
amounted  to  $100,000,  and  there  were  about  300  depositors.  At 
the  present  time  the  bank's  assets  are  $902,916.65,  and  there  are 
2,353  depositors.  From  the  organization  of  the  bank  down  to 
the  present  time,  over  7,000  pass  books  have  been  issued. 

The  present  officers  of  the  bank  are :  President,  Edward  H. 
Preston;  vice-president,  John  E.  Fisk :  treasurer,  E.  Stevens 
Henry;  secretary.  Miss   Susie  Harrington. 


The  Eockville  National  Bank  is  over  half  a  century  old.  having 
been  organized  as  a  state  bank  in  1855.  Its  first  officers  were: 
President,  Allen  Hammond;  secretary,  John  X.  Stickney; 
treasurer,  Elliott  B.  Preston.  Its  capital  at  the  start  of  busi- 
ness was  $300,000.  In  1864  it  was  organized  as  a  national  bank. 
The  capital  at  the  present  time  is  $200,000  and  the  average 
deposits  are  $325,000.  Previous  to  1890  the  bank  occupied  a 
small  one-story  brick  building,  which  stood  on  the  same  site  as 
its  present  building.  During  the  fire  of  April  3,  1888,  which 
destroyed  the  Second  Church,  the  south  side  of  this  building  was 
badly  damaged  and  it  was  torn  down  to  make  room  for  the  pres- 
ent modern  banking  house. 

The  officers  of  the  Eockville  National  Bank  at  the  present 
time  are:  President,  A.  Park  Hammond:  vice-president,  Frank 
Grant;  cashier,  Clayton  E.  Harwood,  who  has  been  with  the  bank 
in  this  capacity  for  twenty  years;  assistant  cashier,  Fred  H. 


The  First  National  Bank  of  Eockville  was  chartered  February 
24,  1863,  with  J.  J.  Eobinson  as  president.  He  served  but  a 
few  months,  being  succeeded  by  Clark  Holt.  Jotham  Goodnow. 
who  afterwards  became  president  of  the  Aetna  Fire  Insurance 
company  of  Hartford,  was  the  bank's  first  cashier.  Its  first 
banking  house  was  located  in  the  brick  building  still  stand- 
ing and  now  used  for  office  purposes  by  the  James  J.  Regan 
Manufacturing  Company.  "When  the  bank  first  started  its  capital 
was  $100,000,  surplus  $1,000  and  deposits  $52,000.     Today  its 

50      summary  of  vernon's  history  early  and  modern 

capital  is  $200,000,  surplus  and  unsecured  profits  $64,500,  de- 
posits $161,000.  This  is  a  low  mark  for  deposits,  the  average 
being  considerably  higher.  Since  1868  the  bank  has  occupied 
its  present  quarters  under  the  Methodist  Church  on  Park  Place. 
On  January  23,  1868,  George  Talcott  was  elected  president  of 
the  bank,  and  he  has  held  this  position  continuously  since,  being 
re-elected  each  year.  He  has  served  the  bank  as  its  chief 
executive  officer  for  a  period  of  forty-three  years.  This  is  a  record 
undoubtedly  without  a  parallel  in  the  financial  history  of  the 
state  of  Connecticut.  Mr.  Talcott  is  eighty-four  years 
old  and  enjoys  the  very  best  of  health,  being  keen 
mentally  and  strong  and  robust  physically,  more  active 
today  than  many  men  twenty-five  years  Ms  junior. 
He  has  spent  all  but  eight  years  of  his  life  in  Vernon.  His  career 
in  the  financial  life  of  the  town  has  been  characterized  by 
faithfulness  and  fidelity. 

The  present  officers  of  the  bank  are:  President,  George  Tal- 
cott; vice-president,  H.  L.  James;  cashier,  H.  H.  Larkum. 


The  Rockville  Building  and  Loan  Association  was  organized 
November  20,  1889  and  incorporated  June  30,  1903.  Its  capital 
stock  is  $1,000,000  and  it  has  5,000  shares  at  a  par  value  of  $200 
a  share.  Its  first  officers  following  its  incorporation  were :  Presi- 
dent, A.  Park  Hammond;  vice-president,  C.  E.  Harris;  secretary 
and  treasurer,  J.  P.  Cameron;  treasurer,  C.  E.  Harwood.  Its 
present  officers  are:  President,  A.  Park  Hammond;  vice-presi- 
dent, Frank  Grant;  secretary,  Charles  N.  Fitch;  treasurer,  C.  E. 
Harwood.  Its  assets  amounted  to  $112,445.96  on  January  1? 



Newspaper  publishing  in  Eockville  properly  begins  with  the 
year  1854,  and  Curtis  B.  Wells,  deceased,  was  the  pioneer  news- 
paper publisher  of  the  city.  He  started  a  paper  known  as  the 
Tolland  County  Gazette.  Following  the  Gazette  came  the  Tol- 
land County  Republican.  Both  were  short  lived.  United  States 
Treasurer  James  Gilfillan  was  interested  in  newspaper  publish- 
ing in  Eockville  in  the  early  days.  From  the  old  Simpson 
Block,  A.  B.  Warner  established  the  News,  which  he  sold  out 
to  the  late  J.  A.  Spaulding,  who  changed  its  name  to  the 
Tolland  County  Journal,  its  first  issue  appearing  February  7, 
1867.  Mr.  Spaulding  continued  his  ownership  of  the  Journal 
until  January  27,  1872,  when  he  sold  out  to  J.  N.  Stickney  & 
Son.  From  1880  until  1881,  it  was  conducted  by  French 
Brothers  of  North  Brookfield.  Mass.,  who  purchased  it  of  J.  N. 
Stickney  &  Co.  Thomas  S.  Pratt  became  proprietor  about  the 
middle  of  May  in  1881,  publishing  the  same  in  connection  with 
a  job  printing  plant  until  March,  1905,  when  he  sold  out. 
The  plant  is  now  owned  by  a  stock  company.  The  present 
editor  of  the  Journal  is  Charles  S.  Greer.  The  plant 
is  located  in  the  Eockville  Opera  House  Block,  and  the  paper  is 
an  eight-page  one,  six  columns  to  the  page.  It  is  issued 
weekly,  making  its  appearance  on  Thursday. 

On  Tuesday,  January  28,  Thomas  S.  Pratt,  for  twenty-four 
years  publisher  and  proprietor  of  the  Eockville  Journal,  died 
and  on  April  29,  1908,  B.  L.  Burr,  founder  of  the  Leader  and 
associated  with  it  as  owner  and  editor  for  twenty-six  years,  died. 

The  Eockville  Leader,  Tolland  County's  only  semi-weekly 
newspaper,  is  the  outgrowth  of  the  Tolland  County  Gleaner, 
which  was  bought  out  by  B.  L.  Burr,  who  had  successfully 
conducted  a  Eockville  department  in  the  Stafford  Press.  It 
made  its  first  appearance  on  May  9,  1875.  It  was  a  small 
four-page  paper,  five  columns  to  the  page  and  was  printed  at 
the  White,  Corbin  &  Co.,  Envelope  Works,  only  one  page  being 
printed  at  once.  A.  W.  Phillips  succeeded  Mr.  Burr  as  owner 
and  he  was  succeeded  by  L.  J.  Washburn  of  New  York. 

In  February,  1879,  Mr.  Burr  bought  the  material  (not  the 
paper)    and   started   the    Tolland   County   Leader.      Associated 


with  him  in  the  business  was  J.  A.  Byron.  This  partnership 
continued  until  August,  1888,  when  it  was  dissolved;  Mr.  Burr 
continuing  the  publication  until  October,  1897,  when  he  disposed 
of  the  business  to  Rady  and  Brown.  On  February  24,  1898,  the 
name  of  the  paper  was  changed  to  the  Rockville  Leader.  T. 
F.  Rady  bought  Mr.  Brown  out  in  July,  1904  and  the  publishers 
of  the  paper  since  then  have  been  T.  F.  Rady  &  Co.  For  several 
}rears  the  plant  was  located  on  Brooklyn  Street.  On  March  20, 
1908,  Mr.  Rady  purchased  the  Butler  property  on  East  Main 
Street,  making  many  changes  and  improvements  in  the  newspa- 
per department  and  in  the  job  printing  plant,  introducing  the 
latest  modern  machinery,  including  a  linotype  machine.  The 
second  floor  of  the  present  Leader  Building  was  rented  by  J.  A. 
Spaulding,  where  the  Rockville  Journal  was  first  issued. 

The  Rockville  Leader  is  a  four-page,  seven-column  paper.  Its 
present  editor  is  Harry  C.  Smith.  Its  publication  days  are 
Tuesdays  and  Fridays. 

The  school  system  in  the  town  of  Aernon  is  in  a  condition  of 
advanced  development  and  has  a  large  and  suitable  equipment. 
From  earliest  times  citizens  of  the  town  of  all  classes  have  taken 
keen  interest  in  educational  affairs.  As  a  matter  of  fact,  the 
people  have  begrudged  money  spent  for  educational  purposes, 
less  than  that  spent  for  any  other  purpose.  For  a  small  manu- 
facturing town,  Vernon  has  a  high  reputation  and  stands  at 
the  very  forefront  as  an  educational  center.  The  town  has 
every  reason  to  be  proud  of  the  teaching  corps  of  its  schools. 
The  high  average  scholarship  is  conclusive  proof  that  it  is  of 
the  best. 

Modern  education  in  Vernon  advanced  in  1870  by  the  erection 
of  a  second  regular  school  building  on  the  inauguration  of  a 
High  School  course.  It  was  under  district  management  untiT 
June  20,  1893,  when  the  first  town  High  School  committee  was 
appointed,  consisting  of  Dr.  A.  R.  Goodrich,  Wilbur  B.  Foster, 
A.  M.  Gibson,  James  Dingwell,  and  William  V.  McNerney 

After  the  completion  of  the  new  building  in  1870  the  second 


floor  of  the  old  building  was  refurnished  with  new  single  desks 
and  the  number  occupying  this  floor  considerably  reduced. 

Randall  Spaulding  was  the  first  principal  following  the  es- 
tablishment of  a  first  High  School  course,  and  the  first  class 
graduated  in  1873,  which  consisted  of  Thomas  Goodell  and  his 
brother  Edwin  B.  Goodell.  These  brothers  graduated  from  Yale 
in  the  class  of  1877,  the  former  being  a  member  of  the  faculty  at 
the  present  time  of  Yale  University  and  a  distinguished  Greek 
scholar.  He  wrote  the  commemorative  poem  for  the  centennial 
celebration  of  the  town  of  Vernon,  June  28  to  July  4,  inclusive. 

The  present  High  School  Building,  which  cost  about  $40,000, 
was  dedicated  September  5,  1893  and  was  used  immediately  as 
the  Public  High  School  of  the  town  of  Vernon.  The  present 
High  School  Committee  consists  of  William  Maxwell,  chairman; 
George  P.  Wendheiser,  secretary  and  treasurer;  Lyman  T. 
Tingier,  Eoraee  (i.  Talcotl  and  Dr.  F.  W.  Walsh.  Harry 
Brooks  Marsh,  M.  A.,  is  the  principal  of  the  High  School  and 
Philip  M.  Howe.  ftl.  A.,  assistant  principal.  Ten  teachers  com- 
pose the  faculty.  There  are  three  courses.  The  enrollment  at 
the  opening  of  the  fall  term  in  September,  1910,  was  one 
hundred  and  seventy-nine,  one  hundred  from  Yernon  and 
seventy-nine  from  other  towns.  The  cost  of  running  for  the 
year  begun  in  September.  1910,  is  estimated  at  $9,750. 

There  are  thirty-four  graded  public  scbools  in  the  town,  with 
free  text  books,  teaching  music,  besides  the  regular  course. 
Manual  training  and  sewing  are  taught  in  all  the  schools  within 
the  city  limits.  The  districts  are:  Past.  West.  Northeast,  South- 
fast.  South,  Talcottville  Southwest,  Yernon  Center  and  North- 
west. Schools  are  maintained  in  all  these  districts,  with  the 
exception  of  the  Southeast,  where  the  pupils  are  conveyed  to 
Rockville,  attending  the  East  District.  A  school  is  also  main- 
tained at  the  Tolland  County  Temporary  Home  for  Children  at 
Yernon  Center.  The  enumeration  of  children  October  1,  1910, 
follows : 

East   District    796 

'\Yest  District    636 

Northeast    126 


South 56 

Center    77 

Talcottville    38 

Southwest    41 

Northwest    20 

Southeast    20 

County  Home  36 

There  are  thirty-seven  teachers  employed,  including  the  teachers 
of  music,  drawing  and  writing,  in  the  district  schools  of  the 

The  board  of  education  of  the  town  of  Vernon  at  the  present 
time  consists  of  M.  H.  Talcott,  president;  S.  T.  Noble,  secre- 
tary and  acting  school  visitor;  Dr.  T.  F.  O'Loughlin,  acting 
school  visitor;  E.  G.  Butler,  Dr.  J.  E.  Hassett  and  Fred  Wood- 
hall.  Dr.  A.  E.  Goodrich,  who  died  December  20,  1908  was 
a  member  of  the  school  board  for  twenty-five  years,  twenty-three 
years  president  of  the  board.  S.  T.  Noble  has  been  a  member  of 
the  board  for  nearly  twenty  years. 

There  are  two  parochial  schools  in  the  town  of  Vernon,  St. 
Bernard's,  and  the  school  connected  with  Trinity  Ger- 
man Church.  They  are  both  doing  excellent  work  and  are  a 
credit  to  those  who  have  their  management  and  direction  in 



The  truth  and  hope  of  the  gospel  has  been  the  dominating  and 
all  absorbing  force  in  the  growth  of  mankind  in  all  of  the  higher 
qualities.  Religious  life  may  vary  in  different  communities,  but 
religious  institutions  are  essential  to  the  best  progress  and  true 
growth  of  all  communities.  Religion,  like  everything  else,  ex- 
pands. The  difference  betweeen  early  and  modern  conditions  in 
the  religious  life  of  Vernon  is  no  less  marked  than  it  is  in 
other  Connecticut  towns.  In  the  mighty  forward  sweep  of  civili- 
zation and  onward  march  of  progress  the  religious  customs  and 
characteristics  of  the  people  undergo  many  and  wonderful 
changes.  No  more  contrasting  picture  can  be  presented  than  the 
religious  life  and  institutions  of  Vernon,  when  the  town  was 
incorporated  in  1808,  over  a  century  ago,  and  the  religious  life 
and  institutions  of  today,  as  Vernon  enters  upon  her  second 
century  as  a  political  factor  in  the  commonwealth  of  Connecti- 

The  age  of  Puritanism  has  gone  never  to  return,  but  the 
Puritan  character  will  live  as  long  as  time  shall  last.  "We  may 
lay  aside  the  creeds,  the  forms  of  worship,  the  social  customs 
of  these  good  people,  of  strong  faith  and  stronger  courage,  but 
we  can  never  lay  aside  the  two  fundamental  life-principles,  faith 
in  God  and  faith  in  man.  The  fatherhood  of  God  and  the 
brotherhood  of  man  have  always  been,  and  ever  will  be,  the  great 
keystones  in  the  arch  of  every  perfect  and  enduring  religious 
structure.  Religious  restraint  and  intolerance  have  given  way 
to  liberty  and  charitableness,  but  we  should  exercise  every  care 
and  not  abuse  the  power  which  comes  with  the  larger  liberty  of 
these  modern  days,  striving  at  all  times  and  in  all  places  to  obey 
the  laws  of  God  and  man,  and  as  spiritual  heirs  of  the  Puritans 
building  up  a  theocracy  that  will  endure  throughout  the  ages. 
While  the  unit  of  life  during  all  ages  and  in  all  towns  has  been 
the  home,  the  blessed  trinity  which  has  held  men  and  women  to 
that  which  is  highest  and  best,  has  been  the  home,  church,  and 
school.  Vernon  is  blessed  with  churches  that  are  progressive, 
standing  everywhere  and  at  all  times  for  the  moral  and  spiritual 


welfare  of  the  people,  and  her  religious  life  has  contributed  to 
the  beauty  and  nobility  of  the  community.  So  much  has  been 
accomplished  by  religion  and  the  church  that  it  would  require 
more  than  a  single  chapter  to  do  full  justice.  A  history  of  each 
denomination  during  the  modern  period  of  the  town's  life  will 
give  a  better  insight  into  the  conditions  in  the  religious  field, 
than  a  general  treatment  of  the  subject  of  religion  and  religious 

Vernon  has  today  twelve  churches,  nine  Protestant  aud  three 
Catholic,  divided  by  denominations  as  follows :  Three  Congre- 
gational, two  Methodists,  one  Baptist,  one  Episcopal,  and  two 
German  Lutheran.  The  Christian  Scientists  have  an  organi- 
zation but  no  organized  church.  There  is  also  a  Swiss  church 
just  over  the  city  line  in  Ellington,  which  is  attended  by  several 
Piockville  people  of  that  nationality. 


The  parish  was  formed  by  name  of  North  Bolton  in  1760. 
The  church  was  organized  as  the  Second  Church  of  Christ  in 
Bolton  in  1762.  When  the  town  was  incorporated  in  1808,  the 
church  and  society  took  the  name  of  the  town. 

The  first  house  of  worship,  one-half  mile  east  of  the  present 
building,  was  erected  in  1762,  present  building  erected  in  1826, 
thoroughly  remodeled  in  1851,  when  the  portico  and  spire  were 
added.    The  spire  was  taken  clown  in  1896. 

The  church  has  had  a  great  many  pastors.  The  records  of  the 
church  are  rich  in  honored  names,  which  there  is  not  space  to 
mention  here.  The  fate  of  so  many  of  the  hill  town  churches, 
from  causes  that  are  inevitable,  has  fallen  upon  the  Old  Mother 
church,  that  of  a  contracted  parish,  greatly  lessened  constitu- 
ency and  meager  material  resources.  For  a  number  of  the  years 
the  pulpit  has  been  supplied  by  theological  students.  Albert  A. 
Marquardt,  a  student  at  the  Hartford  Theological  Seminary,  is 
acting  as  pastor  of  the  church  at  the  present  time. 

AGO — Looking  West  from  Market 
Street.   (Courtesy  Hockville  Leader. I 

AL CHURCH,  erected  in  1826,  re- 
modeled in  1851,  when  portico  and 
spire  were  added.  Spire  taken  down 
1896.       (Courtesy  Hockville  Leader.) 

Park  Place  and   Park  Street  in   1870.  Site  of  present  modern  Henry  Build- 
ing,  showing  First  Congregational  Church  of  Rockville. 

(Courtesy  of  Rockville  Journal.) 



For  fifteen  years  the  original  settlers  of  Rockville  went  to  the 
old  church  at  Vernon.  The  men  usually  walked,  while  the 
team  of  the  Rock  Company  carried  the  women  and  girls.  Weekly 
prayer  meetings  were  held  during  this  time  in  the  Rock  boarding 
house.  The  first  service  on  a  Sunday  was  held  in  the  Rock 
"Lecture  Room"'  on  December  2,  1836,  conducted  by  Rev. 
Diodate  Brockway,  of  Ellington.  The  First  Church  of  Rock- 
ville  was  organized  October  26,  1837,  with  forty  members,  thirty- 
five  of  them  from  the  old  church  in  Vernon.  There  was  con- 
nected with  it  a  Sunday  School  of  one  hundred  members,  and 
the  growth  of  the  church,  as  of  the  village  was  rapid.  The  house 
of  worship  Mas  twice  enlarged,  and  still  there  was  need  of  more 

The  Second  Church  was  accordingly  organized  February  22, 
1849,  with  forty-eight  members,  twenty-nine  from  the  First 
Church  and  nineteen  from  elsewhere.  Its  house  of  worship,  a 
New  England  meeting  house  of  the  noblest  style,  with  Ionic 
portico  and  a  lofty  spire  that  was  much  admired  for  its  graceful 
proportions,  was  built  in  1848-9. 

These  two  churches  worked  side  by  side  for  a  generation  while 
the  village  grew  to  be  a  city.  The  years  1850,  1852,  1854, 
1858,  1864,  1866-7,  1874,  not  to  mention  later  dates,  are  spoken 
of  as  times  of  especial  religious  interest,  when  large  numbers 
weer  added  to  the  church  membership. 

The  pastors  of  the  First  Church  were :  Rev.  Ansel  Nash,  1839- 
1841;  Rev.  Augustus  Pomeroy,  1841-1845;  Rev.  Horace  Wins- 
low,  1845-1852:  Rev.  John  W.  Ray,  1853-1855;  Rev.  Smith  B. 
Goodenow,  1859-1860;  Rev.  Avery  S.  Walker,  1861-1864;  Rev. 
Henry  S.  Kelsey,  1866-1868;  Rev.  E.  B.  Bingham,  1871-1878; 
Rev.  J.  W.  Backus,  1879-1883:  Rev.  Charles  H.  Ricketts,  1884- 

The  pastors  of  the  Second  Church  were :  Rev.  Andrew  W. 
Sharpe,  1849-1851;  Rev.  Charles  H.  Bullard,  1853-1857;  Rev. 
Charles  W.  Clapp.  1857-1864;  Rev.  Asa  S.  Fiske,  1865-1871; 
Rev.  Henry  F.  Hyde.  1872-1880;  Rev.  Samuel  B.  Forbes,  1881- 


Of  these  men  the  most  influential  were  undoubtedly  Revs. 
Horace  Winslow  and  Edward  B.  Bingham,  of  the  First  Church, 
and  Eevs.  Henry  F.  Hyde  and  Samuel  B.  Forbes,  of  the  Second ; 
and  it  is  a  curious  co-incidence  that  the  term  of  service  of  each 
of  these  men  was  about  seven  years.  Mr.  Hyde  died  in  office, 
and  was  sincerely  mourned  by  the  entire  community. 

April  3,  1888,  the  building  of  the  Second  Church  was  de- 
stroyed by  fire.  About  the  same  time  the  town  of  Vernon  wished 
to  acquire  the  site  of  the  First  Church  Building  for  a  Memorial 
Town  Hall.  As  there  were  eight  churches  in  the  place,  the  way 
seemed  to  be  providentially  opened  for  the  union  of  the  Congre- 
gationalists  into  one  body,  and  after  mature  consideration  and  a 
thorough  canvass,  union  was  decided  on. 

The  Union  Ecclesiastical  Society  was  formed  on  June  15,  1888, 
and  into  its  hands  the  property  of  the  societies  connected  with 
the  First  and  Second  Churches  was  duly  conveyed.  The  Union 
Church  was  organized  by  one  hundred  and  eighty-nine  members 
of  the  First  and  two  hundred  and  twenty-two  of  the  Second 
Church,  in  August,  1888. 

Services  were  held  in  the  building  of  the  First  Church,  which, 
after  the  sale  of  the  lot  on  which  it  stood,  was  moved  to  the  south 
side  of  Main  Street  across  the  Rock  Canal.  Rev.  Charles  H. 
Ricketts,  the  last  pastor  of  the  First  Church,  acted  as  pastor  of 
the  united  body  until  May,  1889.  On  December  12  of  that  year, 
Rev.  James  Dingwell  was  installed  by  council  as  first  pastor  of 
the  Union  Congregational  Church. 

After  considering  other  locations,  the  Ecclesiastical  Society 
voted  on  July  24,  1888,  to  build  a  new  church  building  on  the 
site  of  the  former  Second  Church.  Plans  submitted  by 
Warren  H.  Hayes  of  Minneapolis  were  accepted,  and  on  the 
anniversary  of  the  burning  of  the  Second  Church  the  contract 
for  the  erection  of  the  present  beautiful  edifice  was  signed. 
September  5,  1890,  the  building  committee,  consisting  of  J.  G. 
Bailey,  George  Sykes,  Crosley  Fitton,  George  M.  Paulk  and  Dr. 
E.  K.  Leonard,  presented  the  finished  building  to  the  society. 
The  church  was  first  opened  to  the  public  for  an  organ  recital 
by  Prof.  W.  C.  Hammond  on  the  evening  of  September  IT.  The 

mat         <~-fjmf 

W  5*  ■ 


*=•  j*""^CL\ 

Hr^  ' "  *^m 


Grandsons  of   Reverend   Ebenezer   Kellogg,  8rs<   Pastor  of  Vernon.     Promin- 
ent  in   the  early  days  of  the   first   century    of    Rockville. 

Grandson   of   first    pastor. 

One  of  the  earliest  residents  of  Ver- 


services  of  dedication  were  held  the  next  day.  The  sermon  was 
by  Bev.  E.  A.  Reed,  D.  D.,  of  Holyoke,  Mass. 

Wise,  earnest,  devoted  laymen  have  been  the  strength  of  the 
Congregational  churches  of  Rockville  from  the  first.  The  names 
of  Hammond,  Kellogg,  Maxwell,  Loomis.  Thompson,  Prescott, 
Sykes,  Grant,  Harwood,  and  many  more,  appear  again  and  again 
in  the  records.     Deacon  George  Maxwell  at  his  death,  April  2, 

1891,  had  been  a  deacon  of  the  Second  and  Union  Churches  for 
thirty-five  years,  and  Deacon  John  1ST.  Stickney,  served  the  First 
and  Union  Churches  in  the  same  office  forty-four  years. 

Work  among  young  people  has  always  been  a  strong  feature. 
One  hundred  were  gathered  into  the  Sunday  School  when  the 
First  Church  was  formed  in  1837.  Since  then  the  schools  have 
been  fortunate  in  their  officers  and  teachers.  E.  B.  Preston 
is  especially  remembered  as  a  superintendent  who  knew  every 
child  in  a  large  school  by  name.  The  Young  People's  Society  of 
Christian  Endeavor,  formed  September  1,  1888,  was  for  many 
years  one  of  the  most  nourishing  in  the  state.  Other  organiza- 
tions, not  only  of  young  people,  but  of  men  and  women,  have  been 
efficient  tools  in  the  church  work. 

An  event  of  great  importance  was  the  reception  in  February, 

1892,  of  the  legacy  of  $5,000  left  by  Mr.  Maxwell  to  found  a  free 
reading  room  in  connection  with  the  church.  Trustees  were  ap- 
pointed to  have  charge  of  the  fund,  to  which  another  $5,000  was 
added  in  1898  by  the  heirs  of  Mr.  Maxwell,  and  yet  another 
$5,000  in  1901  by  the  will  of  George  Sykes.  The  rooms 
were  furnished  and  opened  to  the  public  in  the  spring  of  1892. 
The  daily  attendance  has  averaged  about  seventy  year  after 
year,  proving  the  great  usefulness  of  this  institution. 

Since  1897  the  church  has  given  the  community  a  chance  to 
hear  sacred  music  of  the  highest  order  in  a  series  of  special  ser- 
vices of  song  on  Sunday  evenings.  Large  portions  of  Handel's 
'"Messiah"  have  been  given  at  the  Christmas  season  for  years. 
Haydn's  ''Creation''  was  given  twice  in  connection  with  the  cen- 
tennial celebration  in  1908. 

AVhen  the  General  Conference  of  Congregational  Churches  of 


Connecticut  was  formed,  Rockville  was  one  of  the  first  places  to 
entertain  the  annual  meeting,  and  has  now  entertained  the  state 
body  four  times,  in  1869,  1880,  1893,  and  1908. 

Mr.  Dingwell  closed  his  pastorate  in  1895,  and  the  present  pas- 
tor, Rev.  Charles  E.  McKinley,  was  installed  September  16, 

Under  the  pastorate  of  Rev.  C.  E.  McKinley,  which  has 
extended  over  a  period  of  fourteen  years,  the  present  Union 
Church  has  attained  a  remarkable  growth,  and  today  its  member- 
ship is  550.  It  has  one  of  the  largest  Sunday  Schools  of  any  Con- 
gregational church  in  the  state.  Mr.  McKinley  is  an  excellent 
preacher  and  a  faithful  and  devoted  pastor,  who  does  not  neglect 
a  single  interest  of  his  parish. 


The  Talcottville  Congregational  Church  was  organized  March 
13,  1861.  with  a  membership  of  seventy-four.  (By 
letter  sixty-four,  by  confession  ten.)  The  church 
building  was  erected  by  H.  W.  and  C.  D.  Talcott; 
at  a  cost  of  $31,000,  and  presented  by  them  to  the  Congrega 
tional  Church,  in  Talcottville,  "so  long  as  said  church  shall  sus- 
tain the  preaching  of  the  gospel  and  other  connected  means  of 
grace  according  to  the  Faith  and  Order  of  the  Fathers."  There 
have  been  eight  pastors,  Rev.  George  A.  Oviatt  (1866-1875),  Rev. 
Joseph  P.  Hawley  (1875-1878),  Rev.  Theodore  L.  Day  (1879- 
1883),  Rev.  George  H.  Pratt  (1883-1888),  Rev.  Jonathan  Wad- 
hams  (1888-1890),  Rev.  Foster  R.  Waite  (1890-1903),  Rev. 
David  L.  Yale  (1901-1908),  Rev.  Francis  P.  Bacheler  (1908). 
The  first  deacons  were  John  Winchester  ( 1867-1874),  Horace  AY. 
Talcott,    (1867-1871). 

The  Sunday  School  was  organized  December  2,  1866,  with 
H.  W.  Talcott  as  superintendent.  The  Ladies'  Missionary 
Society  was  organized  September  19,  1866,  with  Mrs.  Daniel 
Kellogg  as  president.  The  Ladies'  Mission  Band  was  organ- 
ized October,  1882.  with  Miss  Alice  Dexter  as  president.  The 
Y.  P.  S.  C.  E.  was  organized  September,  1886  with  Rev. 
George  H.  Pratt  as  president. 

The  present  officers  of  the  church  are:  Deacons.  Horace  (I. 


Talcott  (1882  ),  Morris  H.  Talcott   (1889  ).  clerk. 

J.  G.  Talcott;  treasurer,  M.  H.  Talcott:  superintendent  Sunday 
School,  H.  G.  Talcott  :  choirister,  G.  W.  Smith;  president  Ladies' 
Missionary  Society  and  Mission  Band,  Mrs.  C.  D.  Talcott: 
Daughters  of  the  Covenant,  Miss  Florence  Moore:  president 
Y.  P.  S.  C.  E.,  Rev.  F.  P.  Bachelor.  Present  church  member- 
ship, one  hundred  and  ninety-six. 

Since  the  burning  of  the  church  edifice  on  October  31,  1908, 
Talcott  Brothers  have  kindly  donated  the  use  of  the  hall  in  the 
upper  part  of  the  store  building  for  church  purposes. 


The  first  steps  looking  toward  a  new  church  home  were  taken 
on  February  26,  1866.  At  this  meeting  it  was  voted  to  build  a 
church  and  a  subscription  paper  was  put  in  circulation  by  a  com- 
mittee, consisting  of  R.  S.  Lewis,  C.  White,  L.  A.  Corbin  and 
H.  C.  Parker.  The  first  service  in  the  vestry  of  the  new  church 
was  held  on  June  16,  1867.  It  was  a  love  feast.  The  bell  was 
raised  to  its  place  in  the  tower  June  28,  1867.  The  vestry  was 
inadecpiate  to  accommodate  the  congregations  and  the  audience 
room  of  the  church  was  dedicated  on  Tuesday,  November  26, 
1867,  Bishop  Simpson  preaching  the  sermon.  Finished  and  fur- 
nished, the  church  cost  $56,000.  A  little  more  than  a  year  after 
dedication,  including  the  debt  secured  by  mortgage,  it  was  found 
that  there  were  claims  against  the  church,  including  interest,  of 
about  $38,000.  At  this  point  Messrs  White  and  Corbin  came  to 
the  rescue  agreeing  to  assume  all  but  $10,000  of  the  debt,  if 
the  church  would  deed  hack  to  them  the  banks  and  the  property 
in  the  rear  of  the  church,  and  make  over  to  them  some  uncol- 
lected subscriptions.  The  deed  was  given,  the  property  costing 
them  nearer  $25,000  than  $10,000.  Pastor  after  pastor  made  an 
effort  to  liquidate  the  debt,  but  without  success.  Rev.  J.  H. 
dames,  who  assumed  the  pastorate  of  the  church  in  1885,  freed 
the  church  of  a  heavy  debt,  a  notable  accomplishment..  The 
mortgage  was  burned  at  a  union  meeting  of  the  people,  in  which 
different  ministers  participated,  on  the  third  Sunday  in  October. 
1887.  The  occasion  marked  a  jubilee  celebration  long  to  be  re- 
membered in  the  annals  of  local  Methodism. 


From  the  time  that  Messrs.  White  and  Corbin  took  the  front 
basement  rooms  of  the  church,  long  used  as  banks,  it  was  the 
intention  of  those  gentlemen  that  this  property  should  revert  to 
the  trustees  of  the  church.  When  Cyrus  "White  died  this  had 
not  been  attended  to  and  Lewis  A.  Corbin  bought  the  banks. 

The  subject  was  frequently  mentioned  by  pastors  and  others, 
but  it  was  not  until  the  pastorate  of  Rev.  W.  J.  Yates  that  it 
was  definitely  arranged.  Then  Mr.  Corbin  executed  deeds  which 
are  duly  recorded,  conveying  the  banks  to  the  trustees.  He 
reserved  the  income  during  his  life.  Then  a  portion  was  reserved 
for  a  fund  for  contingencies,  but  at  last  all  the  income  goes  to 
the  trustees.  Certain  annual  contributions  to  benevolent  inter- 
ests are  provided  for  and  the  balance  may  be  used  for  the  cur- 
rent expenses  of  the  church. 

Meanwhile  Mr.  Corbin  had  purchased  the  lecture  room  of  the 
First  Church  and  removed  it  to  his  own  lot,  back  of  the 
church.  This  is  the  room,  which,  by  the  courtesy  of  the  Congre- 
gational Church,  was  used  as  a  place  of  worship  by  the  Metho- 
dists when  the  old  West  Street  Church  burned.  Now 
George  W.  Doane  joined  with  Mr.  Corbin  and  these  two  gentle- 
men at  their  own  expense  fitted  up  the  commodious  "Wesleyan 
Hall,"  "Ladies'  parlor"  and  church  kitchen  and  placed  them  on 
the  lot  on  which  stands  at  the  service  of  the  people  of  the  church, 
a  noble  act,  worthy  to  be  remembered  to  their  honor. 

When  Eev.  W.  S.  Maclntire  came  to  be  the  pastor  of  the 
church  the  frescoing  on  ceiling  and  wall  was  badly  defaced  and 
the  church  greatly  needed  repairs.  He  soon  set  about  this  work 
and  on  "Old  People's  Daj^,"  October,  1906,  the  church  was  re- 
opened in  its  present  attractive  condition. 

Under  the  energetic  pastorate  of  Eev.  E.  S.  Moore,  who  is  now 
on  his  second  year,  the  spiritual  wants  of  the  people  are  in  good 
hands  and  material  blessings  have  come  to  the  church  in  the 
way  of  additional  improvements. 

The  church  records  show  the  following  as  to  the  pastors : 

183L  S.  dishing.  E.  Whitney,  L.  Pierce:  1835,  no  record; 
1836,  H.  Torbush,  E.  A.  Standish,  E.  Chapin:  1837,  no  record; 
1838,  E.  Chapin.  (A  "local  preacher"  of  East  Hartford)  ;  1839, 


no  record;  1840,  "Vernon  Circuit,"  B.  M.  Walker,  C.  D.  Rogers; 
1841,  L.  Leffingwell,  L.  W.  Blood,  E.  A.  Standish;  1842,  Lanson 
B.  Clark,  W.  Emerson ;  1842,  Xo  record,  R.  W.  Allen  presiding 
«lder;  1844-1845,  A.  F.  Park,  "local  preacher."  A  lawyer  of  Nor- 
wich; 1840,  H.  Torbush,  J.  B.  Gould.  First  Church  built,  West 
street;  1847,  W.  Hurd.  Church  dedicated  May;  1848-1849, 
Anthony  Palmer;  1850,  L.  W.  Blood;  1851-1852,  W.  S.  Sim- 
mons; 1853-1854,  G.  W.  Brewster;  1855-1856,  W.  0.  Cady; 
1857-1858,  G.  W.  Wooding;  1859,  Charles  Morse;  1860,  C.  S. 
Sanford;  1861-1862,  R.  Parsons;  1863-1864,  John  Lovejoy; 
1865-1866,  Erastus  Benton;  1867-1868-'69,  J.  W.  Willett;  18T0- 
1871,  E.  H.  Hatfield;  1872,  Shadrach  Leader;  1873-'74-'7o, 
Henry  H.  Martin;  1876-1877,  G.  W.  Miller;  1878-1879,  N.  G. 
Axtell;  1880-'Sl-'82,  Richard  Povey;  1883,  0.  H.  Fernald ;  1884, 
G.  W.  Brewster;  1885-'86-*87,  J.  H.  James;  1888-'90,  Orange 
W.  Scott;  1891-"94,  G.  H.  Bates;  1895-"!i9.  W.  J.  Yates;  1900- 
'01,  W.  A.  Luce;  1902-'05.  W.  P.  Buck;  1906-'08,  W.  S.  Mac- 
Intire;  1909,  R.  S.  Moore. 


The  Vernon  Methodist  Episcopal  Church  started  from  small 
beginnings,  as  most  of  the  Methodist  churches  do,  from  class 
meetings.  This  was  in  the  early  sixties.  The  meetings  were 
held  mostly  in  the  Dobsonville  schoolhouse  and  the  increasing 
numbers  demanded  preachers  and  the  society  was  supplied  by 
students  from  Wesleyan  University  at  Middletown.  One  of  the 
men  was  Rev.  W.  W.  Bowdish,  who  at  present  is  district  super- 
intendent in  the  New  York  Evangelist  conference.  About  1865 
the  congregation  had  increased  to  such  numbers  that  a  house 
of  worship  became  imperative  and  the  church  at  Bolton  was 
purchased  and  moved  to  Vernon,  cut  in  two  and  lengthened  and 
is  the  building  now  used  for  worship.  Somewhat  later  the 
building  was  improved  and  a  belfry  added  with  a  fine  bell  in- 
stalled, mainly  by  the  generosity  of  S.  S.  Talcott,  a  prosperous 
manufacturer,  who  for  many  years  was  the  motive  power 
of  the  society. 


In  1872  a  resident  pastor  became  a  necessity  and  Rev.  S.  0. 
Benton  was  sent  to  the  field.  In  the  meantime,  S.  S.  Talcott 
and  George  Miner  bought  a  lot  near  the  church  and  a  par- 
sonage was  built.  The  congregation  numbered  forty  or  more  and 
steadily  increased  under  the  labors  of  Rev.  Briton  and  his  suc- 
cessor, Rev.  D.  A.  Jordan.  Both  of  these  men  have  risen  to 
distinction  in  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church.  The  church 
was  served  by  other  ministers  later,  viz.,  Ellis,  Bentlev,  Page, 
C.  S.  Davis  and  others.  A  cabinet  organ  costing  $300,  the 
gift  of  S.  S.  Talcott,  was  placed  in  the  church  and  the  pews 
upholstered  and  other  improvements  made. 

In  1886  at  the  close  of  Rev.  W.  A.  Taylor's  pastorate,  the 
Vernon  Church  was  united  with  the  Wapping  charge,  which  ar- 
rangement lasted  a  year  or  little  more.  From  tins  time  on 
until  1892,  the  church  had  a  temporary  supply  and  then  an 
interval  of  three  years  with  no  pastor  and  a  closed  church.  Rev. 
B.  C.  Phelps  gave  his  services  for  one  year  to  keep  the  church 
open  and  a  Mr.  Hilton  from  Hartford  conducted  services  for  a 
year  and  some  others,  whose  names  do  not  appear,  for  brief 
intervals.  The  Crusaders  succeeded  in  awakening  an  interest 
which  resulted  in  the  appointment  of  Rev.  D.  W.  Adams  in  1895 
to  the  charge.  Under  his  aggressive  administration  an  Epworth 
League  was  formed  with  Mrs.  Robert  Walker  as  president.  A 
Sunday  School  was  previously  organized  by  G.  N.  Phelps,  who 
has  remained  as  its  superintendent  until  the  present.  During 
Rev.  D.  W.  Adams'  pastorate  some  changes  were  made  in  the 
interior  of  the  church,  giving  a  commodious  vestry.  A  Ladies* 
Aid  Society  was  organized  at  this  time  with  Mrs.  S.  S.  Talcott  as 
president,  which  became  of  great  assistance  in  the  church  work. 

Rev.  D.  W.  Adams  was  followed  by  Rev.  F.  J.  Follansbee 
during  whose  term,  a  lot  adjoining  the  church  was  purchased  and 
a  new  parsonage  erected,  the  former  one  having  been  sold  some 
years  previously.  The  society  thus  incurred  a  debt  which 
at  the  time  was  heavy  but  which  the  Ladies'  Aid  Society 
under  the  able  leadership  of  Mrs.  G.  X.  Phelps,  its  president, 
Avas  Largely  instrumental  in  lifting,  and  on  March  31,  1905,  amid 
much  rejoicing,  the  mortgage  note  was  consigned  to  the  flames, 


and  the  society  was  free  from  debt.  Following  Rev.  F.  J. 
Follansbee  came  Revs.  James  Tregaskis,  S.  F.  Maine,  J.  F.  Rob- 
ertson and  lastly  Rev.  S.  M.  Beale,  whose  wise,  ardent  and 
progressive  labors  guarantee  the  future  prosperity  of  the  Ver- 
non Methodist  Episcopal  Church. 


The  history  of  the  Baptist  denomination  in  the  vicinity  of 
Yernon  begins  as  far  back  as  1842,  when  at  the  request  of  several 
brethren  a  meeting  was  held  on  April  8  at  the  home  of  Thomas 
King  in  Ellington  "to  consult  upon  the  propriety  of  constituting 
a  Baptist  church  in  said  town."  In  the  afternoon  of  that  day 
the  church  was  organized,  but  this  organization  disbanded  in 
1845,  but  before  doing  so  the  membership  had  grown  to  thirty- 
two  members.  Rev.  George  Mixter  was  the  first  pastor.  The  service 
of  organization  was  held  in  the  lower  room  of  the  Congregational 
Church  in  Ellington.  This  building  was  later  removed  to  Roek- 
ville  and  re-erected  as  the  Rockville  Opera  House.  Before  dis- 
banding, the  church  built  a  small  building  in  Ellington,  which 
is  still  standing. 

In  1849  twenty-eight  members  of  various  Baptist  churches  of 
Rockville  issued  a  call,  looking  to  the  formation  of  a  Baptist 
Church.  The  signers  of  the  call  were  all  Rockville  residents.  On 
July  17,  1849,  fourteen  persons  met  at  the  home  of  E.  S. 
Hurlburt  and  formally  organized  the  Rockville  Bap- 
tist Church.  Rev.  D.  D.  Lyon  acted  as  the  first 
pastor.  On  April  21,  1850,  Rev.  Henry  R.  Knapp 
became  pastor  of  the  church.  At  the  close  of  the  pastorate  of 
Rev.  H.  R.  Knapp,  May  1,  1852,  the  church  numbered  over 
eighty  members.  The  church  remained  pastorless  after  the  re- 
signation of  Rev.  H.  R.  Knapp  until  January,  1854,  when  a 
call  to  the  pastorate  was  extended  to  Rev.  G.  W.  Gorham,  who 
continued  as  pastor  until  about  a  month  and  a  half  before  the 
church  disbanded. 

The  Sunday  services  of  this  church  were  held  during  the 
earlier  period  in  Union  Hall  in  the  Sears  Building  on  Market 
Street  in  the  rear  of  the  Exchange  Block.  This  building  has 
since  burned  down. 


In  1849  it  was  unanimously  voted  to  contract  for  building  a 
house  of  worship.  According  to  the*  vote,  there  was  to  be  a 
basement  under  the  house  of  worship  and  stores  for  rent.  Land 
for  a  building  was  purchased  of  the  Frank  Factory  near  the  fac- 
tory. The  response  to  a  subscription  paper  warranted  the  pro- 
ject of  building,  and  work  was  commenced,  and  after  what  was 
apparently  a  long  and  hard  struggle,  completed.  This  edifice 
was  that  which  is  now  occupied  by  the  German 
Lutheran  Church  on  West  Main  Street.  It  was 
sold  to  the  Methodist  Episcopal  Society  on  Februaiy 
27,  1855.  Regular  services  were  discontinued  at  this  time,  but 
the  society  continued  to  hold  annual  meetings  and  elect  officers 
year  by  j^ear  until  the  church  began  again  to  hold  regular  ser- 
vices in  1882. 

For  twenty-seven  years  the  Baptists  of  Rockville 
kept  up  their  organization,  while  not  holding  services  of  a  dis- 
tinctively religious  nature.  This  seems  a  remarkable  fact  and 
proves  conclusively  the  persistent  character  of  this  people.  In 
1882,  Rev.  L.  S.  Brown  of  Tolland  commenced  holding  services. 
Sunday  afternoons  in  Rockville  Hall,  which  is  now  the  dining 
room  of  the  Rockville  House.  Soon  the  place  of  holding  ser- 
vices was  changed  to  what  was  called  "The  Mission  Room,"  now 
the  room  occupied  by  the  Journal  Publishing  Company. 
The  Baptist  church  was  revived  in  June,  1882.  It  was  a  small 
start,  there  being  but  six  members  to  begin  with,  but  additions 
were  made  from  time  to  time,  the  church  growing  steadily  and 
showing  signs  of  prosperity.  Rev.  L.  S.  Brown  continued  to 
supply  the  pulpit  until  November,  1883.  The  church  was  without 
a  settled  pastor  until  January,  1884,  when  Rev.  W.  C.  Walker 
began  to  supply,  continuing  until  May,  1885.  The  pastorate  of 
Rev.  A.  S.  Brown  commenced  immediately  after  the  close  of  the 
pastorate  of  Rev.  W.  C.  Walker,  and  continued  until  April,  1887. 
The  present  house  of  worship,  which  was  dedicated  on  March  8. 
1887,  was  started  during  his  pastorate,  the  site  being  purchased 
from  the  Rock  Manufacturing  Company  on  Union  Street,  where 
the  church  now  stands. 


The  pastors  of  the  church  following  Rev.  A.  S.  Brown  were : 
Rev.  E.  W.  Potter,  1887-1894;  Rev.  A.  P.  Wedge,  1895-1900. 
The  present  pastor,  Rev.  George  D.  Gould,  commenced  his  duties 
on  April  1,  1900.  During  his  nearly  eleven  years  of  service,  peace 
and  prosperity  have  attended  the  church.  The  church  has  been 
refurnished  inside  and  out,  until  it  hardly  looks  like  the  same 
building.  During  the  present  pastorate  there  have  been  added 
to  the  church  eighty-three  members,  fifty-eight  of  them  by 
baptism,  while  twenty-five  have  been  lost  to  the  membership  by 
various  causes,  leaving  a  net  gain  to  the  church  of  sixty,  the 
present  membership  being  one  hundred  and  sixty-six.  The 
membership  has  doubled  on  the  average  once  in  eight  years  since 


The  first  Episcopal  service  held  in  the  town  of  Vernon  was 
the  marriage  of  Dr.  Alfred  R.  Goodrich,  who  in  later  years 
achieved  distinction  in  the  professional  and  political  life  of  the 
town,  and  Miss  Charlotte  Dobson,  daughter  of  Peter  Dobson, 
founder  of  the  first  cotton  mill  in  the  town  and  one  of  the 
first  in  America.  The  ceremony  was  performed  October  28, 
1847,  by  Rev.  Mr.  Clero  of  Broad  Brook. 

In  1850  a  funeral  service  was  held  by  Rev.  Mr.  Fitch.  Regular 
Episcopal  services  were  begun  by  Rev.  Enoch  H.  Huntington 
in  1855.  He  was  the  rector  of  Grace  Episcopal  Church  in  Broad 
Brook.  The  initial  service  of  the  denomination  in  Rockville  was 
held  in  the  Rockville  House  on  May  7.  It  is  said  that  over  three 
hundred  attended.  Rector  Huntington  ventured  to  express  the 
hope  that  a  chapel  might  be  built  here  to  accommodate  the 
Episcopalians.  To  this  end  he  continued  to  lead  the  congrega- 
tion from  Broad  Brook  and  subsequently  from  Manchester.  He 
was  assisted  and  succeeded  in  the  work  by  his  son,  Rev.  John 
T.  Huntington,  at  the  present  time  the  beloved  pastor  of  St. 
James'  Episcopal  Church,  Hartford,  who  gave  himself,  his  time 
and  means  to  the  work,  in  the  winter  coming  out  from  Hart- 
ford in  the  cold  and  snow.  Eventually  becoming  discouraged, 
Mr.  Huntington  gave  it  up  as  the  biggest  mistake  of  his  life. 


The  parish  was  served  by  lay  readers,  young  men  from  Trinity 
College,  Hartford,  who  afterwards  became  prominent  clergymen 
in  the  church,  Messrs  Buckingham,  Alfred  Harding,  J.  H.  Free- 
land,  F.  D.  Buckley  and  others. 

The  parish  was  organized  by  the  convention  in  June,  1872. 
Services  were  held  in  1871  and  1872  in  the  German  Lutheran 
Church  on  West  Main  Street,  but  the  time  had  arrived  when  they 
must  have  a  building  of  their  own.  Considerable  difficulty  was 
encountered  in  finding  a  location.  Eventually  the  present  site 
was  obtained,  then  occupied  by  an  unsightly  barn.  And  here 
the  church  building  stood. 

Heavily  mortgaged,  the  parish  handicapped  with  debt,  the 
whole  thing  gave  evidence  of  a  conspicuous  failure.  But  upon 
the  earnest  appeal  and  subscription  of  Bishop  Williams,  church- 
men came  forward  and  with  the  assistance  of  the  Missionary 
Society  of  the  Diocese  bought  the  property  and  placed  the  parish 
upon  a  working  basis.  The  parish  was  paid  out  of  debt  entirely 
and  the  present  church  edifice  was  consecrated  as  that  of  St. 
John's  on  May  30,  1905,  Memorial  Day,  and  thereupon 
entered  upon  a  new  and  vigorous  career. 

Rev.  Harlow  R.  Whitlock  was  the  first  rector  of  St.  John's 
Church.  The  discouragements  of  the  work  were  so  great  that  Mr. 
Whitlock  resigned,  practically  abandoning  the  ministry,  from 
which  at  his  own  request  he  was  deposed.  Other  rectors  of  the 
church  with  their  term  of  service  follow:  William  F.  Bielby, 
1884-1888;  Elijah  Roke,  1888-1889;  Clarence  E.  Baal,  1889- 
1892;  Bev.  Samuel  W.  Derby,  1892,1895;  Rev.  Robert  C.  Ton- 
gue, 1896-1899. 

Rev.  J.  Francis  George,  the  present  pastor,  succeeded  Rev. 
Robert  C.  Tongue,  commencing  his  pastorate  on  October  1,  1899. 

Aside  from  faithful  and  generous  parishioners,  citizens  of 
the  community  have  patronized  the  church,  of  whom  are  the 
names  of  Judge  Dwight  Loomis,  A.  N.  Belding,  George  Talcott. 
E.  N.  Foote,  L.  E.  Thompson,  Heber  Townsend,  Cyrus  Winchell. 
E.  S.  Henry,  W.  R.  Orcutt,  H.  L.  James,  L.  Bissell,  W.  B. 
Foster  and  George  Sykes. 


Of  the  church  itself  a  distinguished  citizen  has  said  that  "more 
than  anything  else  it  represents  the  progress  of  the  town.'' 
Placed  at  the  outside  in  a  most  unattractive  location,  improve- 
ments have  gone  on  year  after  year  upon  the  church  and  its 
environment,  until  it  finds  itself  in  the  midst  of  the  most  desir- 
able residential  portion  of  Eockville.  If  we  are  to  judge  from 
the  past  this  church  is  destined  to  fill  a  noble  position  in  the 
city  and  in  the  state,  the  product  of  a  wealthy  and  intelligent 

The  number  of  families  connected  with  St.  John's  Episcopal 
Church  at  the  present  time  is  one  hundred  and  seven;  baptized 
persons,  three  hundred  and  twenty-seven  and  communicants, 
one  hundred  and  fifty-nine. 

Under  the  present  rector,  who  has  labored  faithfully  and  zeal- 
ously, "progress"  appears  to  be  the  keynote  in  the  spiritual  life 
of  the  people  and  the  material  life  of  the  parish.  The  call  is 
"Forward  and  Upward." 


As  far  as  can  be  ascertained,  James  McAvenney  was  the  first 
Catholic  to  settle  in  Eockville.  He  came  sixty-seven 
years  ago.  In  1848,  about  fifteen  Catholics  assembled 
at  the  first  mass  celebrated  in  Eockville  in  a 
house  owned  by  the  paper  mill  company  and  then 
occupied  by  Christopher  Carroll  and  family,  was  the  place 
where  divine  services  were  conducted.  Eev.  John  Brady,  of 
Hartford,  was  the  celebrant  of  the  mass.  It  may  be  interest- 
ing to  those  of  us  of  another  generation  nearly  three  score 
years  and  ten  later  to  know  who  were  some  of  the  attendants 
of  the  first  mass.  The  records  disclose  the  name  of  Christopher 
Carroll,  Patrick  Quinn,  Edward  Gorman,  Thomas  McDonnell, 
Dennis  O'Donnell,  James  Conner,  Philip  Kernan,  Matthew  Fay. 
Eugene  Kernan,  Patrick  Duffy.  Martin  Flood,  John  Moore  and 
Michael  Lawlor. 

It  was  not  until  the  year  1849  that  regular  visitations  were 
made,  and  this  duty  developed  on  Eev.  James  Smyth,  one  of  the 
patriarchs  of  the  diocese.    He  officiated  here  at  monthly  intervals 


at  the  house  of  Albert  Lamb,  where  Patrick  Quinn  resided.  He 
said  mass  also  in  the  Dean  house  on  Mountain  Street,  where 
Martin  Flood  resided. 

The  "Brick  Tavern,"  famous  in  the  early  history  of  Vernon, 
when  the  growth  of  Catholicism  in  interest  and  numbers  made 
larger  quarters  essential,  became  a  meeting  place.  Beginning 
with  the  year  1851  a  large  upper  room  on  the  west  side  was  used. 
Mass  was  said  here  for  two  years,  when  "Skinner"  Hall  was  se- 
cured in  the  Sears  Building  on  Market  Street  over  the  Eockville 
meat  market,  where  mass  was  said  by  Father  Smyth  and  others 
until  March  15,  1851.  Rev.  Peter  Egan  assumed  charge  as  the 
first  resident  pastor.  Manchester,  Stafford  Springs,  Broad  Brook 
and  Mansfield,  which  were  without  any  Catholic  meeting  houses, 
were  dependencies. 

Between  1850  and  1860,  there  was  considerable  activity  in 
Catholic  circles  and  as  the  Catholic  population  was  increasing 
slowly  but  surely  it  was  felt  that  a  site  and  building  should  be 
secured.  Although  the  financial  means  of  the  Catholics  were 
meager  and  there  existed  a  deep  rooted  local  prejudice  against 
Catholics  and  Irishmen  at  this  time,  once  a  start  had  been  made 
for  a  church  home  of  their  own  on  the  part  of  the  Catholics, 
there  was  no  turning  back.  Hawley  Kellogg,  a  druggist,  who 
conducted  business  on  what  is  now  known  as  St.  Bernard's  Ter- 
race, who  was  broad  and  liberal  in  his  views,  offered  his  entire 
property  to  the  Catholics  on  terms  satisfactory  to  them,  and 
they  promptly  accepted  the  offer,  and  after  removing  the  store  on 
the  site,  work  was  commenced  on  the  new  church.  Good  progress 
was  made  and  the  church  was  completed.  In  the  meantime  a 
parsonage  was  secured,  a  cemetery,  consisting  of  five  acres  on  the 
Tolland  Eoad,  purchased  by  Father  Egan,  who  was  in  charge 
here  at  the  time.  Having  been  instrumental  in  getting  the  parish 
under  headway  and  accomplishing  much  for  the  spiritual  welfare 
of  the  people  and  the  material  wants  of  the  parish,  Father  Egan 
went  to  Lee,  Mass.  on  November  12,  1856. 

Rev.  Bernard  Tully  succeeded  Father  Egan,  assuming  his 
duties  in  December,  1856.  Under  his  administration  the  church 
was  finished  and  embelished  and  dedicated  by  Bishop  McFarland. 
Father  Tully 's  pastorate  continued  until  January,  1863. 


Following  Father  Tully's  pastorate,  the  pastors  of  St.  Ber- 
nard's Roman  Catholic  church  were  Rev.  Hugh  O'Reilly,  1863- 
1868;  Rev.  Bernard  Tully,  1868-1869;  Rev.  James  Quinn,  1869- 
1872;  Rev.  Patrick  P.  Lawlor,  1872-1873;  Rev.  John  J.  Fur- 
long, 1873-1895;  Rev.  John  Cooney,  1895-1900.  Rev.  Luke 
Fitzsimons  assumed  the  pastorate  on  Sunday,  September  30, 
1900,  coming  from  the  Immaculate  Conception  Church  in  New 

During  Father  Tully's  pastorate  the  sanctuary  of  the  church 
was  enlarged,  the  church  beautifully  decorated  and  the  main 
portion  of  the  rectory  built. 

Father  Tully's  second  pastorate  was  of  very  brief  duration. 
He  suddenly  expired  in  his  carriage  on  July  20,  1869,  while 
on  his  way  to  Ellington.  The  splendid  marble  monument, 
which  stands  over  his  grave  in  front  of  the  church,  was  erected 
by  Rockville  and  Manchester  people,  in  testimony  of  their  love 
and  esteem  for  him. 

Rev.  John  J.  Furlong  served  for  a  longer  period  than  any 
pastor  in  the  history  of  St.  Bernard's  parish,  1874-1895.  Father 
Furlong's  first  work  was  to  improve  the  cemetery.  During  his 
pastorate  the  church  was  completely  renovated,  mny  notable 
improvements  being  made.  The  renovated  church  was  re- 
dedicated  on  January  20,  1878.  In  February,  1886,  the  John- 
son site  on  Park  Street  was  purchased.  The  house  was  con- 
verted into  a  convent  and  a  chapel  was  arranged  therein.  The 
Cogswell  lot  adjacent  was  soon  added  to  this  property.  The 
present  lot  on  which  the  present  handsome  school  building 
stands,  was  secured  by  Father  Furlong.  On  this  lot  was  the  old 
building  which  Father  Egan  had  removed  to  make  room  for  the 
church.  This  was  remodeled  for  the  "Sisters,"  who  removed  there- 
to from  Park  Street,  May  13,  1895.  To  Father  Furlong  belongs 
the  honor  of  introducing  the  Sisters  of  Mercy  into  Rockville. 
November  3,  1886  was  the  date  they  took  up  their  work  here. 
On  May  2,  1887,  the  basement  of  the  church,  which  had  been 
fitted  up,  was  opened  for  school  purposes.  A  new  school  build- 
ing, 63x68  feet,  commenced  by  Father  Furlong  in  1894,  was 
opened  September  10,  1895. 


During  the  nearly  ten  years  Eev.  Luke  Fitzsimons  was 
pastor  of  St.  Bernard's  Church  there  was  a  wonderful 
growth  and  expansion.  In  many  respects  it  was  one  of  the 
most  remarkable  decades  in  the  history  of  the  parish.  The  years 
have  been  marked  by  material  prosperity  and  progress  and 
spiritual  uplift.  On  Tuesday,  August  30,  1904,  the  people  of 
the  parish  were  bereft  of  a  church  home,  their  frame  edifice 
erected  in  1855,  enlarged  in  1863,  moved  back  and  added  to  in 
1873  and  improved  by  the  addition  of  a  new  steeple  and  in 
various  other  ways,  being  re-dedicated  in  1878,  was  totally  de- 
stroyed by  fire.  The  Union  Ecclesiastical  Society  offered  its 
church  edifice  for  a  temporary  place  of  worship  for  the  members 
of  St.  Bernard's  Church  and  the  town  authorities  put  at  their 
disposal  the  Town  Hall,  which  was  accepted.  Undaunted  and 
undismayed  by  the  catastrophe  that  came  to  the  parish,  Father 
Fitzsimons  lost  no  time  in  getting  plans  out  for  a  new  church 
home,  and  in  seven  months  after  the  fire,  work  started  on  the 
new  church.  The  cornerstone  of  the  new  church  was  laid  on 
Sunday,  May  28,  1905.  It  was  a  grand  and  imposing  ceremony. 
Bishop  Michael  Tierney  spread  the  mortar  with  a  silver  trowel, 
forty  priests  assisted,  all  the  Catholic  societies  turned  out  and 
many  citizens,  Catholic  and  Protestant,  graced  the  occa- 
sion with  their  presence.  The  chapel  was  dedicated  on  Sunday, 
November  26,  and  this  was  another  memorable  occasion  in  the 
history  of  the  parish.  The  greatest  epoch  in  the  history  of  the 
parish  arrived  when  the  church  was  dedicated  on  Sunday, 
September  20,  1908,  when  the  people  beholding  the  new  church 
complete  and  crowning  the  ideal  site  of  the  old,  forgot  their  grief 
in  joy.  Before  the  vast  assemblage  the  church  was  dedicated. 
"While  Father  Fitzsimons  was  the  moving  spirit  and  genius  in 
building  up  the  new  church,  the  loyalty  and  devotion  of  his 
people  and  the  co-operation  and  noble  response  on  the  part  of  the 
non-Catholics  of  the  city,  made  his  task  a  pleasant  one. 

The  church  is  of  granite  foundation  to  the  main  floor  and 
the  main  body  is  of  brick.     It  will  seat  nine  hundred. 

When  Father  Fitzsimons  assumed  the  duties  of  pastor  of  St. 
Bernard's  Church,  there  was  a  debt  of  $30,000.     The  debt  has 


been  removed,  a  new  church,  costing  $65,000  has  been  built,  the 
parish  owns  a  large  amount  of  valuable  property  in  the  very 
heart  of  the  city,  and  there  is  an  indebtedness  of  but  $12,000. 
When  the  church  first  started  there  were  two  hundred 
and  forty-seven  Irish  people  in  Eockville.  Today  there 
are  two  thousand  one  hundred  souls  in  St.  Bernard's  parish 
and  the  church  has  one  thousand  six  hundred  communicants. 

Eev.  M.  H.  May  of  Colchester,  Conn.,  succeeded  Rev.  Luke 
Fitzsimons  as  pastor  of  St.  Bernard's  Church.  He  arrived  in 
Eockville  on  Wednesday,  August  3,  1910.  On  Sunday,  August 
6,  he  said  two  masses  at  the  church  and  occupied  the  pulpit  at 
the  three  masses,  where  he  introduced  himself  to  his  parishion- 

Father  May  has  been  extremely  fortunate  in  bis  assist- 
ant, Eev.  James  L.  Smith,  who  came  to  Eockville  in  1904  from 
the  Norwich  parish.  He  co-operates  with  the  "Sisters"  in  the 
convent  in  carrying  on  the  educational  work  of  the  boys  and 


St.  Joseph's  Catholic  Church  (Polish)  is  one  of  the  young- 
est churches  in  Eockville,  dating  back  to  April  28.  1905.  Previous 
to  this  time  the  Polish  people  worshipped  at  St.  Bernard's 
Church.  The  steady  increase  in  the  Polish  population  made  it 
necessary  to  take  steps  to  erect  a  suitable  church  home,  ami  the 
present  edifice  at  the  corner  of  Union  and  West  streets  was  dedi- 
cated on  Sunday,  October  29,  1905.  The  distinguished  prelate, 
Bishop  Michael  Tierney  officiated  and  the  ceremony  was  an 
impressive  one.  A  feature  of  the  clay's  exercises  was  a  big 
parade  in  which  out  of  town  Polish  societies  took  part,  there 
being  about  1,200  men  in  line.  The  edifice  was  erected  under  the 
supervision  of  Eev.  C.  J.  Wotypka,  the  first  rector,  since  deceased. 
Owing  to  the  generosity  and  devotion  of  his  people  and  the  co- 
operation of  the  citizens  of  the  community,  excellent  progress 
was  made.  To  help  pay  for  the  church,  the  members  of  tiie 
parish  set  aside  two  days  pay  each  month  for  the  first  six 
months  and  then  one  day's  pay  each  month  for  a  year. 


The  church  building,  which  is  of  Gothic  style  of  architecture, 
of  frame  construction,  40x83  feet  in  size,  has  a  seating  capacity 
of  about  eight  hundred.  It  is  of  modern  construction  and  the 
appointments  are  complete  in  every  respect.  The  church  has 
over  eight  hundred  communicants.  The  rectors  of  the  church 
since  its  organization  have  been:  Eevs.  C.  J.  Wotypka,  Joseph 
H.  Culkowski,  M.  Soltysek. 


The  first  divine  service  was  held  in  1856.  It  was  served  as  a 
mission  by  different  outside  pastors  until  1864.  The  congrega- 
tion was  organized  by  Rev.  Otto  Hanser  of  Boston,  September 
23,  1866,  with  a  membership  of  ninety-seven.  The  first  local 
pastor  was  Eev.  C.  Graeber,  who  took  charge  in  November,  1866. 
The  present  building  was  bought  in  1867,  at  that  time  owned  by 
the  Methodist  Episcopal  Church.  Eev.  C.  Graeber  resigned  in 
August,  1869,  after  two  and  one-half  years  of  work.  His  suc- 
cessor was  Eev.  Simon,  who  remained  about  two  years. 

Eev.  Frey  had  charge  of  the  work  from  1871  to  1875.  Eev.  N. 
Soergel  came  to  Eockville  early  in  1876  and  supplied  until  1882. 
He  was  followed  by  Eev.  C.  A.  Graepp,  who  served  the  congre- 
gation from  August,  1882  until  May,  1888. 

In  1884  a  lot  was  purchased  on  Ward  Street  and  a  parsonage 

In  July,  1888,  Eev.  G.  F.  Hartwig,  the  present  pastor,  took 
charge.  During  the  following  years  a  debt  of  $3,700  was  paid 
off,  a  pipe  organ  purchased  and  various  other  improvements 
made  when  the  church  building  was  purchased,  a  store  which 
remained  until  1891,  was  conducted  in  the  basement.  During 
this  year  the  basement  was  remodelled  and  fitted  up  for  a  Sun- 
day School  room,  and  other  improvements  made  at  a  cost  of 
$3,400.  In  1906  new  church  pews  were  installed,  a  stone  wall 
and  iron  fence  erected  and  other  repairs  made  on  the  church 
property  at  a  cost  of  $2,600.  In  1907  a  fine  church  bell  was 
donated  by  Mrs.  Julia  Paulsen. 


The  church  building  and  parsonage  are  in  good  condition 
and  free  from  debt.  The  present  membership  of  the  congrega- 
tion is  four  hundred  and  fifty  communicant  members,  and  the 
Sunday- School  has  about  two  hundred  scholars;  Ladies*  Aid 
Society,  seventy-two  members  and  the  Luther  League,  one 
hundred  and  two  members. 


The  Trinity  German  Lutheran  Church  was  started  in  1866  by 
Rev.  Otto  Hanser,  sent  from  Boston.  It  was  refounded  May  29, 
1882.  The  first  service  was  held  on  the  18th  of  June  in  that 
year  in  the  hall  of  the  Rockville  Hotel.  The  first  church  building 
was  erected  June  3,  1883.    A  parsonage  was  built  in  1895. 

The  pastors  of  the  church  have  been :  Rev.  C.  Graeber,  1866- 
'69  ;  W.  A.  Prey,  1872-'75;  P.  A.  Soergel,  1875-85;  Otto  Hanser, 
1886-'01;  John  Heck,  1901-'05. 

Rev.  Walter  Von  Schenk  assumed  the  pastorate  in  1906. 

A  parsonage  was  built  in  1895.  Among  the  improvements 
made  were  the  renovation  of  the  interior  of  the  church,  cement 
sidewalks,  organ,  organ  motor  and  school  hall. 

There  is  a  parochial  day  school  connected  with  the  church, 
with  fifty-two  pupils  and  two  teachers.  The  Sunday  School  has 
one  hundred  and  eight  pupils  and  seven  teachers. 

The  present  membership  of  the  church  is  five  hundred  and 
twenty  souls  and  two  hundred  and  fifty  communicant,  or  voting 

A  Ladies'  Aid  Society,  Young  People's  Society  and  choir  are 
connected  with  the  church,  which  is  prosperous  in  every  depart- 
ment at  the  present  time. 

While  they  have  not  organized  a  church,  several  Rockville  peo- 
ple, believing  in  the  Christian  Science  doctrine,  hold  meetings 
every  Sunday  in  Masonic  Hall  in  the  Fitch  Block.  These  meet- 
ings have  been  held  in  various  halls  for  the  past  two  years  and 
previous  to  this,  for  about  seven  months  the  meetings  were  held 
at  the  home  of  Mrs.  Carlos  Doane  on  Village  Street.    The  mem- 


bers  have  banded  together  and  the  officers  are :  President,  A.  W. 
Annis;  secretary  and  treasurer,  Mrs.  Carlos  Doane.  Miss  Ida 
Martin  is  the  first  reader  and  Mrs.  A.  W.  Annis  is  the  second 
reader.  The  attendance  each  Sunday  runs  from  eighteen  to 

There  are  few,  if  any  towns  with  a  like  population  that  have 
a  greater  number  of  fraternal  organizations  than  the  town  of 
Vernon.  Indeed,  Vernon  is  especially  remarkable  for  the 
strength  of  the  fraternal  spirit  and  organizations.  It  is  probable 
that  all  the  fraternities  together  include  a  goodly  percentage 
of  the  entire  population  of  the  town.  Many  of  the  societies 
have  handsome  rooms,  and  the  influence  of  this  element  in  our 
social  and  charitable  life  is  incomputable.  The  oldest  strictly 
fraternal  organization  in  the  town  is  Fayette  Lodge  of  Masons, 
which  was  organized  in  October,  1825  in  the  William  Morgan 
Tavern  in  Ellington.  It  will  thus  be  seen  that  Masonry  in  the 
vicinity  of  Vernon  is  nearly  as  old  as  the  town  itself.  On  June 
1,  1857,  Fayette  Lodge  occupied  for  the  first  time  its  new  hall 
in  King's  Tavern,  now  the  town  almshouse.  The  Lodge  was 
reorganized  in  that  year  and  Frank  Winthrop  Perry  was  made  a 
Master  Mason,  the  first  Master  Mason  ever  made  in  the  town  of 
Vernon.  There  are  six  living  members  of  Fayette  Lodge,  who 
have  been  Masons  over  half  a  century.  They  are  Edward  E. 
Fitch  of  Burnside,  Frank  W.  Perry  of  South  Norwalk,  Henry 
W.  Coye  of  Cottage  City,  Mass.,  E.  Stevens  Henry,  A  Park 
Hammond  and  Lucius  E.  Thompson  of  this  city.  E.  Stevens 
Henry  has  been  an  officer  of  the  lodge  for  over  fifty  years.  The 
lodge  had  furnished  one  grand  master  of  the  Grand  Lodge  of 
Masons  of  Connecticut,  Edward  E.  Fuller. 


Vernon,  for  a  town  its  size,  has  several  institutions,  some  in 
the  embryo  stage,  but  certain  in  the  not  far  distant  future  to 
take  their  proper  place  in'  the  life  of  the  community  and  be- 

potent  factor  in  the  development  of 

A  captain  of  industry  who  worked 
his  own  way  to  the  topmost  round 
of  the  ladder.  At  his  death  he  left 
a  fund  of  $100,000  for  a  Manual 
Training  School. 


Christian      Statesman  —  Distinguished 

jurist — Prominent  in  National  Life. 

Wfco  Gave  $50,000  for  a  City  Hospital. 


come  a  potent  influence  for  good,  making  for  the  uplifting  and 
betterment  of  the  people.  Perhaps  the  foremost  institution  in 
which  the  town  takes  greatest  pride  is  the  George  Maxwell 
Memorial  Library,  presented  to  the  city  on  June  29,  1904,  by 
the  Maxwell  family,  in  honor  of  their  father,  and  as  a  tribute 
of  affectionate  remembrance  to  him,  who  had  been  a  stalwart 
figure  in  the  religious,  social  and  industrial  world,  one  of  earth's 
true  benefactors.  The  library  building  is  a  modern  one  and  is 
finely  located  on  Union  Street  a  few  rods  west  of  the  Union  Con- 
gregational Church,  Central  Park  and  the  business  center  and 
nearly  opposite  the  magnificent  Maxwell  homestead.  It  stands 
high  above  the  street,  occupying  land  that  was  formerly  two  build- 
ing sites,  on  one  of  which  was  the  residence  occupied  for  several 
years  by  the  deceased.  A  commanding  feature  of  the  structure, 
which  is  built  of  marble,  is  the  magnificent  double  flight  of  gran- 
ite steps  and  the  beautiful  terraced  grounds.  Beautiful  in 
exterior  and  interior,  equipped  with  all  modern  conveniences,  it 
is  indeed  an  enduring  memorial  of  one  who  loved  Rockville  and 
all  her  institutions  and  who  was  beloved  by  all.  It  is  a  gift 
which  every  part  of  the  community  shares.  The  library  contains 
10,164  carefully  selected  volumes.  The  management  is  vested 
in  the  hands  of  the  Rockville  Library  Association  of  which 
Francis  T.  Maxwell  is  president;  William  Maxwell,  secretary 
and  J.  C.  Hammond,  Jr.,  treasure]-. 

The  present  librarian  is  Miss  Bessie  Beckwith,  who  has  several 
capable  and  efficient  assistants. 

The  magnificent  generosity  of  the  Sykes  family  insures  a 
manual  training  school  for  Rockville.  At  the  death  of  George 
Sykes,  which  occurred  December  21,  1903,  Vernon  lost  a  citizen 
who  had  been  closely  identified  with  her  growth  for  over  a  third 
of  a  century  and  allied  with  the  city's  largest  and  most  success- 
ful corporations.  He  left  a  fund  of  $100,000  for  a  manual 
training  school.  Mrs.  Elsie  Sykes  Phelps,  wife  of  Hon.  Charles 
Phelps,  the  president  of  the  Vernon  Centennial  Committee,  pre- 
sented a  desirable  site  for  the  building  on  Park  Street,  and  since 
the  death  of  Mr.  Sykes,  his  widow  has  presented  the  trustees 
with  $50,000,  without  condition  or  restrictions,  to  be  added  to 


the  building  fund.  The  latest  gift  received  by  the  trustees,  is 
the  sum  of  $25,000  from  Mrs.  Charles  E.  Bond  of  Hartford, 
daughter  of  the  late  Mr.  Sykes.  This  money  is  to  be  used  by 
the  trustees  as  they  see  fit. 

A  city  hospital,  made  possible  by  the  Prescott  family,  William 
H.  Prescott,  one  of  Eockville's  captains  of  industry,  having  con- 
tributed $50,000  before  his  death,  aud  the  family  having  con- 
tributed the  site,  the  Gainer  property  on  Prospect  Street,  will  be 
a  reality  at  no  distant  day. 

The  Tolland  County  Agricultural  Society  was  organized 
August  22,  1853  at  the  County  House  in  Tolland,  by  Jonathan 
Flynt,  who  was  then  treasurer  of  Tolland  county.  Ephraim 
H.  Hyde  was  the  first  president.  The  fairs  were  held  at  Tol- 
land for  a  few  years  and  were  then  transferred  to  Eockvillle. 
Mr.  Hyde  remained  at  the  head  of  the  society  for  a  great  many 
years.  When  the  park  in  Kockville  was  purchased,  it  was  decided 
to  name  it  Hyde  Park  in  his  honor,  in  consideration  of  his  valu- 
able services.  The  entire  amount  of  the  premiums  to  begin  with 
did  not  exceed  $350.  Today  they  average  from  $1,200  to  $1,300. 
In  1898  the  Tolland  County  Agricultural  Society  became  a  joint 
stock  corporation  and  the  name  was  changed  to  the  Rockville 
Fair  Association.  The  late  Walter  E.  Payne  was  the  first 
president  and  E.  P.  Badmington  the  first  secretary.  Andrew 
Kingsbury  is  president  at  the  present  time  and  Fred  J.  Oooley 
is  secretary.  The  annual  fair  is  now  recognized  as  one  of  the 
biggest  and  best  in  the  state. 

The  Tolland  County  Temporary  Home  for  Children  was 
opened  in  November,  1883,  at  Andover,  and  Mrs.  William  T. 
Smith  was  the  first  matron.  In  1888,  the  Edwin  Bill  property 
at  Vernon  Center  was  purchased  and  the  Home  was  removed 
there.  Early  in  1900  a  start  was  made  toward  a  new  building, 
which  was  dedicated  on  December  5,  of  that  year.  It 
stands  just  at  one  side  of  the  old  one,  is  an  imposing  structure 
of  Colonial  style  of  architcture  and  an  ornament  to  the  village. 
Edwin  Hick  is  superintendent,  succeeding  E.  S.  Talbot,  who 
served  in  that  capacity  for  fifteen  years.  Mrs.  Hick  acts  as 


On  November  18,  1876  property  for  a  town  farm  was  pur- 
chased. In  the  early  days  of  the  town  this  property  was  a  famous 
tavern,  known  as  King's  Tavern.  In  a  room  in  this  tavern 
Fayette  Lodge  of  Masons  had  its  first  meeting  place  in  Yemon. 
The  property  has  been  improved  from  time  to  time,  and  today 
it  is  recognized  as  a  model  town  farm.  Nelson  Palmer  was  the 
first  superintendent.  Gilbert  Ahem  is  the  present  superinten- 

No  organization  is  doing  a  more  effective  work  along  patriotic 
lines  than  Sabra  Trumbull  Chapter,  D.  A.  E.  Since  its  organi- 
zation it  has  accomplished  a  world  of  good,  not  the  least  of  which 
was  the  inauguration  in  1908  of  the  free  evening  school,  now 
under  town  support,  where  the  city's  foreign  born  population  can 
learn  English  and  acquire  the  fundamental  principles  that  are 
essential  to  progress  in  education,  which  makes  for  good  citizen- 
ship and  a  law-abiding  community.  Other  organizations  which 
deserve  a  passing  notice  are  the  Eesearch  Club,  the  Cornelia 
Circle,  the  Mothers'  Club,  the  Teachers'  Club,  the  W.  C.  T.  IT., 
Salvation  Army  and  Sunshine  Society.  In  the  business  life  of 
the  city  no  organization  has  exerted  a  better  influence  than  the 
Eockville  Business  Men's  Association,  which  was  organized  eight 
years  ago  with  Edward  A.  Kuhnly,  since  deceased,  as  president 
and  Wilbur  B.  Eorster,  also  deceased,  as  secretary.  The  member- 
ship at  the  present  time  is  about  one  hundred  and  the  president 
is  Harry  C.  Smith  and  William  A.  Howell  is  the  secretary. 


The  town  of  Vernon  has  four  modern  cemeteries,  three  public 
and  St.  Bernard's  Cemetery.  There  was  no  movement  for  the 
establishment  of  a  cemetery  in  Eockville  until  1817,  when  the 
present  grounds  were  purchased  of  David  Hale,  consisting  then 
of  seven  and  one-half  acres,  and  costing  $398.  No  considerable 
improvement  in  the  grounds  was  made  for  twenty  years.  In 
1867  additional  grounds  were  purchased  for  cemetery  purposes. 
After  this  the  changes  were  numerous,  and  the  cemetery  at  the 
present  time  is  an  attractive  one,  containing  many  handsome 
monuments  in  marble  and  granite. 


The  other  two  comparatively  modern  cemeteries  are  Elmwood 
at  Vernon  Center,  and  Mount  Hope  at  Talcottville. 

After  Grove  Hill  Cemetery  was  laid  out,  the  hearse,  a  one- 
horse  affair,  covered,  without  glass  panels,  was  kept  in  a  house 
near  the  gate  and  belonged  to  the  town.  It  was  the  only  one 
in  the  town.  When  Albert  Dart  was  selectman  and  the  Met- 
calfs  built  their  shop  on  Market  Street,  he  ordered  them  to  take 
charge  of  the  hearse  and  furnish  a  horse  and  driver.  But  the 
good  people  of  Vernon  had  not  been  in  the  habit  of  paying  for 
the  use  of  a  hearse,  and  most  of  them  gave  up  the  plan  and  the 
Metcalfs  sold  out  their  business.  As  near  as  can  be  learned 
McCollum  and  James,  successors  to  the  Metcalfs,  were  the  first  to 
procure  a  paid  hearse. 

The  first  monument  in  Grove  Hill  Cemetery  was  erected  for 
Christopher  Burdick. 

Of  the  early  cemeteries,  the  one  designated  on  the  town  rec- 
ords as  the  East  Cemetery,  is  the  oldest.  It  is  situated  about 
half  a  mile  east  of  the  spot,  where  Vernon's  first  meeting  house 
stood,  on  the  road  from  Eockville  to  Bolton.  It  was  laid  out 
a  great  many  years  before  the  first  church  was  built,  which  was 
in  1762.  Probably  the  site  of  the  church  was  selected  partly 
because  of  its  proximity  to  the  cemetery.  There  are  many  old 
gravestones  there  and  several  graves  without  any  stones. 
Tradition  says  the  first  body  buried  there  was  that  of  a  child, 
who  was  killed  by  a  fall  from  a  load  of  goods  near  the  very 
spot.  The  goods  were  being  moved  by  ox-team  from  Bolton. 
The  child  was  buried  in  the  northeast  corner  of  the  cemetery. 
There  is  no  place  of  burial  where,  with  more  peculiar  fitness,  one 
may  quote  the  pathetic  lines: 

"Each  in  his  narrow  cell  forever  laid, 
The  rude  forefathers  of  the  hamlet  sleep." 

Once  the  center  of  the  parish,  time  has  played  strange  pranks. 
It  is  today  "far  from  the  madding  crowd's  ignoble  strife," 
removed  from  the  haunts  of  men.  Few  go  there,  except  the 
curious,  and  those  drawn  by  a  desire  to  muse  and  be  alone.  As 
we  wander  through  this  old  graveyard  and  pause  to  read  the 
uncouth  rhyme,  under  the  rudely  carved  death's  head  on  the 


frail  memorial  of  one  of  the  early  pioneers,  we  are  bidden: 
"Behold  and  see  as  you  pass  by, 
As  you  are  now  so  once  was  I, 
As  I  am  now  so  must  you  be, 
Prepare  for  death  and  follow  me." 
Many  of  the  fathers  of  the  town,  who  helped  make  history  in 
the  early  days,  and  who  have  lived  Godly  and  useful  lives,  are 
buried  in  the  ancient  burying  ground,  among  them  being  the 
honored  and  saintly   Ebenezer  Kellogg,   Vernon's  first  pastor, 
who  died  September  3,  1817.    The  inscription  on  his  stone  reads: 
"Kev.  Ebenezer  Kellogg  died 
September  3,  1817  in  the  81st  year 
Of  his  age,  and  55th  year 
Of  his  ministry  in  this  place." 
"In  yonder  sacred  meeting  house  he  spent  his  breath, 
Now  silent ;  senseless,  here  he  sleeps  in  death. 
Those  lips  again  shall  wake  and  then  declare, 
A  long  amen  to  truths  they  published  there." 
Captain  Moses  Thrall,  who  was  the  first  to  settle  on  the  tract 
of  land  in  the  vicinity  of  this  ancient  burying  ground  in  1703, 
was  one  of  the  pioneers  in  what  is  now  Vernon  Center.     He 
died  August  21,  1770,  and  is  buried  in  Vernon's  ancient  bury- 
ing-ground.     Daniel  Thrall  was  one  of  the  first  sextons  of  the 
historic  old  burying  ground.    His  son,  Ira  Thrall,  succeeded  him, 
and  he  was  in  turn  succeeded  by  his  son,  Alfred  0.  Thrall,  who 
is  the  present  sexton.     Their  combined  period  of  service  extends 
over  one  hundred  years. 

Vernon's  other  ancient  burying  ground  is  designated  as  the 
Southwest  Cemetery.     It  is  located  below  Dobsonville. 

St.  Bernard's  Catholic  Cemetery  was  started  about  1855.  It 
has  increased  in  area  by  the  purchase  of  additional  land,  and 
numerous  improvements  have  been  made,  until  today  it  is  a 
credit  to  the  town  and  to  St.  Bernard's  parish. 



For  nearly  fifty  years  after  the  incorporation  of  the  town  of 
Vernon,  the  south  part  of  the  town,  designated  as  Vernon,  was 
the  "hub."  Eockville  was  hardly  a  spoke  in  the  wheel.  Gradually 
Eockville  became  the  "hub"  and  Vernon  was  hardly  a  spoke  in 
the  wheel. 

As  far  back  as  1861,  when  A.  C.  Crosby  represented  Vernon  in 
the  General  Assembly,  there  was  talk  of  a  change  of  govern- 
ment, many  citizens  expressing  a  desire  for  a  new  form.  A  few. 
were  bold  enough  to  think  the  opportune  moment  had  arrived 
for  the  adoption  of  a  borough  charter,  and  Mr.  Crosby  intro- 
duced a  bill  for  such  a  charter.  He  plainly  discerned  the  hand- 
writing on  the  wall  and  dropped  the  matter.  For  twenty  years 
or  more  Vernon  continued  to  go  along  under  the  town  system, 
sentiment  finally  crystalizing  for  a  change,  it  being  everywhere 
acknowledged  that  the  town  was  too  big  and  important  for  a 
suit  of  borough  clothes.  Those  who  had  given  careful  thought 
and  attention  to  the  subject  were  firmly  convinced  that  a  suit 
of  city  clothes  would  fit  very  nicely  and  be  the  proper  thing, 
and,  accordingly,  in  November,  1888,  an  informal  meeting  was 
held  at  the  office  of  Town  Clerk  Gelon  W.  West  for  the  purpose 
of  considering  the  advisability  of  a  city  charter.  There  was  a 
good  attendance.  Opposition  developed,  coming  principally  from 
the  manufacturers,  and  the  first  effort  ended  without  any  action 
being  taken. 

The  sentiment  for  a  city  charter  among  the  business  men 
continued  to  grow,  and  those  who  advocated  a  change  felt  success 
was  bound  to  come  eventually.  At  the  legislative  session  of  1889, 
William  B.  Sprague  of  Andover,  who  was  then  a  member  of  the 
senate,  introduced  a  bill,  providing  for  a  city  charter  for  Eock- 
ville. At  the  hearing,  which  was  slimly  attended,  E.  S.  Henry 
presented  the  matter  before  the  committee  on  cities  and  boroughs. 
The  charter,  which  was  patterned  after  the  Danbury  charter, 
provided  that  the  matter  be  submitted  to  the  people.  The 
people  in  the  south  part  of  the  town  justly  felt  that  Eockville 
was  an  expensive  proposition  for  them,  and  Eockville  proper  felt 
that  the  time  had  arrived  for  extensive  public  improvements — 


improvements  it  was  impossible  to  get  under  the  old  order  of 
things.  The  need  was  felt  for  a  paid  police  force  to  control  the 
hoodlum  element,  better  lighting  facilities  and  increased  fire  pro- 
tection and  the  establishment  of  a  modern  sewer  system,  also  the 
establishment  of  building  lines.  These  were  some  of  the  many  ar- 
guments that  appealed  with  irresistible  force  fur  a  change  in  the 
system  of  government.  With  the  lower  part  of  the  town  lined 
up  against  paying  Bockville's  bills  and  Eockville  expanding  and 
reaching  out  for  more  costly  things,  it  is  no  wonder  the  vote  for 
a  city  charter  when  submitted  to  the  people  was  passed.  For 
some  time  after  the  charter  was  adopted  there  was  talk  of 
abandoning  it,  as  the  tax  rate  took  a  decided  upward  jump,  but  it 
was  nothing  more  than  talk.  A  fact  worth  noting  in  connection 
with  the  securing  of  the  city  charter  is  that  it  came  at  a  mini- 
mum of  expense. 

Under  the  city  charter  Samuel  Fitch  became  the  first  mayor, 
and  following  him  came  William  V.  McNerney  and  E.  S.  Henry, 
all  of  whom  served  for  two  years  each.  E.  L.  Heath  and  William 
H.  Loomis  served  four  years  each.  George  Forster  holds  the 
record  for  length  of  service,  having  served  three  terms  of  two 
years  each,  and  he  was  re-elected  in  December,  1909,  for  a  fourth 
term.  Since  the  organization  of  the  city  government  Eockville 
has  had  but  six  mayors.  All  of  the  citizens  who  have  occupied 
the  city's  chief  executive  office  are  living  at  the  present  time  with 
the  exception  of  Messrs.  Fitch  and  Loomis. 

With  the  acceptance  of  a  city  charter  Eockville  did  away  with 
the  justice  system  of  trying  case,  as  the  new  system  of  govern- 
ment provided  for  a  city  court,  giving  it  much  wider  jurisdiction 
than  the  ordinary  police  courts,  including  the  town  within  its 
jurisdiction.  The  first  judge  of  the  city  court  was  Gelon  W. 
West  and  the  present  officials  are :  Judge,  John  E.  Fisk ;  associ- 
ate judge,  John  E.  Fahey;  prosecuting  attorney,  Thomas  F. 
N"oone;  assistant  prosecuting  attorney,  D.  J.  McCarthy;  clerk, 
Frederick  Forster;  probation  officer,  T.  F.  Garvan. 

The  city  charter  provides  for  a  mayor  and  a  Court  of  Common 
Council,  consisting  of  two  boards.  At  the  present  time  there 
are  four  wards,  each  ward  having  one  alderman  and  two  council- 

84      summary  of  vernon's  history  early  and  modern 

men.  They  serve  without  compensation.  The  charter  originally 
made  no  provision  for  paying  the  mayor,  but  an  amendment 
was  passed  in  1905  allowing  the  mayor  $300  per  year.  There 
have  been  a  few  other  amendments  making  slight  increases  in 
the  salaries  of  the  court  officials. 

The  county  court  was  established  in  Tolland  County  in  1786. 
The  first  presiding  judge  was  Samuel  Gilbert  of  Hebron.  Before 
1819  the  county  court  consisted  of  one  chief  judge  and  four 
justices  of  the  quorum.  After  1819,  it  consisted  of  one  chief 
judge  and  two  associate  judges.  From  1838  there  was  but  one 
judge.  Sylvester  Gilbert  was  the  first  state's  attorney  and 
Ephraim  Grant  was  the  first  clerk.  On  July  1,  1855,  the  county 
court  was  abolished.  Sessions  of  the  superior  court  are  now  held 
in  Tolland  county,  where  civil  and  criminal  cases  are  tried,  the 
court  meeting  for  the  purpose  in  September,  December,  April  and 
June.  Numerous  short  calendar  sessions  are  held  during  the 
year.  John  H.  Brockaway  was  the  first  state's  attorney  for  Tol- 
land County  appointed  by  the  judges  of  the  superior  and  supreme 
courts.  Others  following  him  were  Dwight  Marcy,  Benezet  H. 
Bill  and  Joel  H.  Beed. 

Charles  Phelps  is  the  present  state's  attorney  of  the  county; 
Joseph  Bishop  was  the  first  clerk,  and  L.  T.  Tingier  is  clerk 
of  the  court  at  the  present  time. 

The  story  of  the  old  days  has  no  more  entertaining  anecdotes 
than  those  of  the  first  fire  fighters.  The  first  fire  engine  used 
in  Vernon  has  passed  beyond  recollection.  The  second  one  was 
Hockanum  No.  1,  a  button  engine.  This  was  housed  for  a  time 
where  the  present  Rock  Mill  dyehouse  stands,  at  that  time  owned 
by  the  Leeds  Mill.  There  was  no  organized  company  and  the 
machine  did  not  receive  proper  care.  The  engine  had  two  narrow 
escapes  from  destruction  by  fire,  the  first  coming  at  the  time  of 
the  Frank  Mill  fire  September  20,  1851,  and  the  second  coming 
when  the  Leeds  Mill  was  burned  in  1854.  It  was  abandoned  in 
disgust.  Following  the  Leeds  Mill  fire,  there  was  an  insistent 
demand  for  better  fire  protection.  The  hat  was  passed  around  in 
the  various  mills,  contributions  were  asked  for  and  about  $1,500 
was  raised,  two  fire  companies  were  organized  and  a  new  engine 


was  bought.  It  was  known  as  the  "Fire  King."  This  old  hand 
engine  is  inseparably  associated  with  the  early  history  of  Bock- 
ville.  Not  even  an  entire  chapter  can  give  the  reader  a  com- 
plete idea  of  the  fire  fighting  days  "befo'  th'  wa'."  Older  resi- 
dents now  among  us  recall  them.  They  were  days  that  will  live 
long  in  memory — different  from  the  fire  fighting  days  of  this 
modern  age,  and,  when  contrasted  with  these  days,  bringing 
vividly  before  us  the  wonderful  changes  time  has  wrought  in  fire 
fighting  methods.  Electric  wires  were  unheard  of  then.  It  was 
lung  power  and  the  man  who  could  '"holler"  the  loudest  was  the 
best  fellow.  This  would  start  the  mill  bells  going  and  the 
noise  by  those  combined  flesh  and  brass  alarms  was  something 
to  strike  terror  to  every  inhabitant.  Did  anyone  sleep  through 
these  noises?  Well,  hardly;  and  almost  everybody  not  sick  in 
bed  was  out  to  the  fire,  regardless  of  wind  or  weather.  There 
were  no  prosecutions  for  "ringing  in"  false  alarms  then,  for  no 
false  alarms  were  given,  taking  a  strict  view  of  the  matter.  What 
matter  if  a  few  packing  boxes  or  tar  barrels  did  get  ablaze  in 
some  mysterious  manner?  There  were  no  tramps  about  in 
those  days  to  lay  the  cause  to.  And  it  was  the  people  who  saw 
these  fires  and  imagined  some  house  on  fire  who  gave  the  alarm, 
and  with  good  intentions.  Nobody  was  to  blame.  Besides,  there 
was  no  expense  when  the  department  was  called  out  only  occa- 
sionally wounded  feelings.  The  remuneration  the  fire  laddies 
received  for  yanking  the  old  hand  engine  over  the  rough  streets 
and  up  and  down  the  steep  hills  was  the  feeling  that  they  had 
done  their  duty.  The  engine  burned  no  coal  and  there  was  no 
fire  police  to  pay. 

Of  the  "false  alarms"  of  long  ago,  it  is  only  necessary  to  speak 
of  one.  It  was  the  king  of  them  all,  however.  There  are  some 
here  in  our  midst  today  who  remember  it,  and  there  are  some 
here,  too,  who  dare  insinuate  that  there  are  those  who  could  tell, 
by  practical  experience,  the  ins  and  outs  of  that  false  alarm.  At 
that  time  there  was  no  common  council  to  pay  a  detective  for 
looking  up  criminals.  Indeed,  there  was  no  ordinance  relative 
to  the  matter.  A  lesson  may  have  been  learned  from  that  inci- 
dent, however,  as  it  may  be  proper  to  assume  that  one  or  more 

86      summary  or  vernon's  history  early  and  modern 

of  those  '"'alarm  ringers"  may  have  seen  service  in  the  City 
Council  and  in  framing  the  present  ordinance. 

It  was  not  long  after  old  "Fire  King"  had  been  purchased. 
The  members  of  the  fire  department  then,  were  the  first  men  of 
the  village  and  they  were  proud  of  belonging  to  the  department. 
It  numbered  on  its  roster  the  Hammonds,  the  Winchells,  the 
Kelloggs,  and  all  the  leading  citizens  of  the  place.  There  was 
great  rivalry  between  the  two  companies.  At  that  time  the 
Saxony  Mill  Pond  was  quite  large.  One  very  stormy  night,  in 
January,  1858,  with  the  snow  piled  two  feet  on  a  level,  the  old- 
fashioned  alarm  "rung  out"  on  the  snowy  air.  Fire  King  boys 
were  ever  ready  for  a  contest.  They  ran,  tugged,  pulled  and 
puffed  away  for  a  weary  mile — the  longest  mile  they  had  ever 
been  up  against  in  all  their  experience,  and  lo,  and  behold !  what 
did  they  find?  A  huge  pile  of  tar  barrels  and 
boxes  were  blazing  on  the  further  corner  of  the  pond. 

One  or  two  of  the  recognized  leaders  in  the  affairs  of  the  town, 
who  were  looked  upon  as  pillars  in  the  community,  held  high 
their  heads  and  offered  a  reward  for  the  detection  of  the  con- 
spirators, the  offenders  against  the  sacredness  of  Eockville's 
fire  system.  A  wise-headed  man,  however,  put  his  hand  upon 
the  benevolent  champion  of  law  and  order  and  suggested:  "I 
wouldn't  do  it,  Captain,  it  might  possibly  hit  too  near  home." 

The  incorporators  of  the  Fire  King  Company,  which  was  or- 
ganized in  1854  in  Butler  Hall,  the  present  editorial  room  of  the 
Leader,  were :  William  E.  Orcutt,  Edwin  P.  Allen,  A.  C.  Crosby, 
Thomas  Spence  and  Wells  Symonds.  Mr.  Orcutt,  who  was  the 
first  foreman  of  the  company,  the  "firemen's  friend,"  selected  and 
purchased  the  engine  of  James  Smith  of  Brooklyn,  N.  Y.  in  the 
spring  of  1855.  It  was  at  that  time  considered  a  marvel  of 
mechanism.  The  engine  was  housed  in  the  basement  of  the  B. 
H.  Bill  residence,  which  is  now  doing  duty  as  a  hotel  in  El- 
lington under  the  name  of  the  "Ellington  Inn."  In  this  house, 
which  at  that  time  stood  on  Park  Street,  the  company  had  two 
rooms,  one  fitted  up  for  a  parlor.  Under  the  articles  of  incor- 
poration the  company  was  allowed  to  own  property  to  the  amount 
of  $2,500  and  to  have  a  membership  of  sixty,  and  for  years 


the  company  had  its  full  quota.  The  engine  gave  a  fine  account 
of  itself  at  the  various  firemen's  musters  about  the  country  and 
a  feature  of  the  early  days  in  Yernon  were  the  contests  between 
the  Hockanum  and  Fire  King  boys. 

Foreman  of  the  Fire  King  Company  following  Mr.  Orcutt, 
were  A.  C.  Crosby,  N.  H.  Thompson,  E.  P.  Allen,  E.  H.  Dawson, 
Charles  E.  Harris,  J.  W.  Burton,  George  Millard,  John  Leach, 
Nicholas  Wendhiser,  0.  C.  West  and  James  Fitzgerald,  who  was 
the  last  foreman  before  the  reorganization  of  the  company. 

The  Hockanum  Fire  Company  was  organized  in  1855  with 
Carlos  McKinney  as  first  foreman.  The  other  foremen  up  to 
the  time  of  its  reorganization  were  Joseph  Selden,  A.  Park 
Hammond,  Joseph  Schofield,  Carlos  Tracy,  William  C.  Avery, 
P.  G.  Holt,  William  H.  Jones,  John  Pitney,  John  Chapman  and 
Edward  Hurlbut. 

The  Hockanum  Engine  Company  had  a  hall,  where  reunions 
were  held.  Joseph  Thompson  was  the  first  secretary  of  the 
company  and  E.  S.  Henry  the  first  treasurer.  The  foreman  of 
hose  was  S.  A.  Groves. 

The  Hockanum  and  Fire  King  engines  were  all  the  town  had 
for  a  period  of  thirty-five  years.  In  1889  there  was  agitation  for 
a  better  fire  department  and  Crosley  Fitton,  George  Sykes  and  E. 
S.  Henry  were  appointed  a  committee  to  purchase  a  steamer. 
After  a  lengthy  investigation  they  unanimously  agreed  upon  a 
rotary  pump  engine  which  was  put  in  commission  in  the  fall  of 
1889.  Later  a  second  one  was  purchased.  When  the  old  engines 
went  out  of  commission  the  Hockanum  button  engine  was  sold  for 
junk  in  exchange  for  fire  supplies.  "Fire  King"  was  sold  in  1891 
to  the  Pawtuxet,  E.  I.,  firemen,  who  have  proved  themselves 
worthy  successors  of  the  old  Fire  King  Company,  making  a 
great  record  with  the  machine. 

Previous  to  the  securing  of  a  city  charter,  the  town  of  Vernon 
had  several  incorporated  fire  districts.  The  fire  chiefs  from  the 
earlier  days  up  to  the  present  time  include :  William  E.  Orcutt, 
A.  C.  Crosby,  1ST.  H.  Thompson,  Albert  Dart,  C.  E.  Harris,  Lewis 
Hunt,  Joshua  Wood,  Nicholas  Wendhiser,  James  Breen,  Edward 
Marshman,  Gilbert  Holt,  John  Wagner  and  John  W.  Hefferon. 


The  officers  of  the  department  are:  Charles  J.  Scholl,  chief; 
E.  Serbser,  assistant  chief;  A.  T.  Dickinson,  superintendent  of 
alarms;  T.   F.   O'Loughlin,   department  physician; 

There  are  two  steamer  companies,  Fitton  Steamer  Com- 
pany No.  2,  and  Fitch  Steamer  company,  No.  3,  a  hose  com- 
pany, known  as  Hockanum  Hose  company  No.  1,  and  a  hook  and 
ladder  company,  known  as  Snipsic  Hook  and  Ladder  Company. 
All  the  companies  have  their  own  houses  and  the  paid  firemen 
on  the  rolls  of  the  various  companies,  including  officers  and  men, 
number  fifty. 

The  police  force  is  one  of  Eockville's  most  modern  institutions. 
Indeed,  it  was  one  of  the  strong  arguments  for  the  adoption  of 
a  city  charter.  In  the  early  days  of  the  town,  there  was  no  police 
department.  Constables,  grand  jurors  and  justices  of  the  peace 
preserved  order,  issued  complaints  and  tried  cases.  For  many 
years  in  the  early  days  of  the  town,  George  Talcott  and  E.  S. 
Henry  acted  as  trial  justices,  and  they  did  their  duty  fearlessly 
and  well,  according  to  all  accounts.  Mr.  Henry  had  an  office 
upstairs  in  his  building  and  Mr.  Talcott  had  an  office  fitted  up 
in  his  house.  Prior  to  that  time  a  trial  justice  would  try  a  law- 
breaker or  violator  in  any  convenient  place  the  lawyer  would 
assign.  Phineas  Talcott,  father  of  George  Talcott,  did  most  of 
the  trial  justice  work  in  the  very  early  days  of  the  town  and 
he  attained  fame  and  distinction. 

Not  until  the  city  government  was  instituted  was  there  a  "cop" 
in  Eockville  to  molest  or  make  afraid.  Previous  to  this  the  po- 
lice work  was  done  by  constables,  who,  while  they  wore  a  badge 
and  had  plenty  of  authority,  had  no  blue  uniform  with  brass 
buttons.  It  was  under  the  administration  of  Mayor  Samuel 
Fitch,  now  deceased,  that  regular  policemen  and  supernumer- 
aries were  appointed.  The  first  regulars  were  William  H.  Cady, 
Fred  Einsiedel,  D.  W.  Delaney  and  Jewett  Collum.  The  first 
supernumeraries  were  A.  E.  Barnes,  Frederick,  Harding,  Frank 
Davis  and  Fred  Bauchman.  William  H.  Cady  was  the  first 
captain  of  police,  serving  from  1890  until  June  30,  1907,  a 
period  of  seventeen  years.  He  dropped  dead  on  that  day  at 
12  :20  o'clock  as  he  was  crossing  Central  Park  on  his  way  to  his 


office  in  the  police  headquarters  in  the  Memorial  Building. 
Apoplexy  was  the  cause  of  his  death.  His  career  was  character- 
ized by  faithfulness  and  fidelity. 

By  virtue  of  his  office,  the  mayor  is  chief  of  police.  The  rules 
and  regulations  of  the  department  are  vested  in  the  hands  of 
the  police  committee  of  the  City  Council,  appointed  by  the 

Eockville's  police  force  at  the  present  time  consists  of  a 
captain,  three  regular  policemen  and  five  supernumeraries.  E.  J. 
Kane,  who  received  bis  appointment  by  Mayor  Forster 
on  July  30,  1907,  as  successor  to  the  late  Captain  William  H. 
Cady,  was  appointed  a  supernumerary  by  Mayor  E.  S.  Henry 
in  1894  and  promoted  to  be  a  regular  patrolman  on  December  1, 
1900  by  the  late  Mayor  William  H.  Looniis.  He  was  acting 
captain  during  the  month  of  July,  following  the  death  of 
Captain  Cady.  His  career  as  the  active  head  of  the  police  force 
of  the  city  of  Eockville,  which  was  a  notably  successful  one,  was 
ended  by  death  on  Friday.  July  29,  1910.  He  died  at  the  Hart- 
ford Hospital  following  an  operation.  The  entire  city  mourned 
the  loss  of  a  faithful  officer.  His  funeral,  which  was  held  at  St. 
Bernard's  Church  on  Monday.  August  1.  was  very  largely  attend- 
ed, husiness  being  generally  suspended  for  the  occasion,  citizens 
in  all  the  walks  of  life  uniting  to  pay  their  respects  to  his  mem- 

On  Tuesday,  September  20,  1910,  Mayor  Forster  announced 
the  appointment  of  Leopold  Krause  as  captain  to  succeed  the 
late  Captain  E.  J.  Kane.  Captain  Krause  was  made  a  supernu- 
merary in  1901  and  promoted  to  be  a  regular  patrolman  in  1907. 

The  regular  policemen  at  the  present  time  are  A.  E.  Barnes, 
Joseph  Forster,  Jr.,  and  S.  J.  Tobin.  Owing  to  continued  ill 
health.  Patrolman  Forster  has  done  very  little  duty,  the  various 
supernumeraries  taking  turns  filling  his  place. 

The  present  supernumeraries  of  the  police  department  of  the 
city  of  Eockville  are  Alfred  Say,  John  Donovan,  Eichard  Shea, 
William  Clift  and  Moritz  Kemnitzer.  The  city  is  free  from  vice 
and  there  are  few  disturbances.     Few  cities  in  the  countrv.  with 


the  cosmopolitan  population  Eockville  has,  are  better  policed  or 
have  less  disorder.  Conditions  are  almost  ideal  and  speak  vol- 
umes for  the  people  who  comprise  the  city's  population.  Eock- 
ville is  a  thoroughly  law-abiding  communit}^. 

Eockville  is  set,  not  on  a  single  hill,  nor  on  seven  hills,  like 
ancient  Eome,  but  upon  a  series  of  hills.  Its  situation  is  as  pictur- 
esque as  many  of  the  historic  Old  World  villages.  Located  in  the 
highlands  of  Tolland  County,  it  overlooks  the  famous  Connecticut 
Valley  and  presents  a  panorama  of  some  of  the  most  charming 
landscape  scenery  to  be  found  in  New  England.  From  the  top 
of  Fox  Hill,  which  is  six  hundred  and  ninety-three  feet  above  the 
sea  level,  a  magnificent  view  of  the  city  and  surrounding  country 
for  miles  around  can  be  obtained.  The  upper  part  of  North 
Park  Street  also  furnishes  a  delightful  prospect.  With  a  good 
field  glass  Mount  Tom,  Mount  Holyoke,  the  State  Capitol  at 
Hartford,  and  numerous  other  towns  and  villages  can  be  seen 
There  are  beautiful  drives  and  good  roads  about  the  city. 
During  the  past  decade  many  sewers  have  been  put  in  and  con- 
siderable curbing  has  been  done.  The  septic  system  of  sewage 
disposal  is  one  of  the  best  in  the  country.  The  city  is  16.7 
miles  from  Hartford,  4.4  miles  from  Vernon,  109.4  miles  from 
Boston  and  125  miles  from  New  York. 

The  daily  wants  of  Eockville  are  supplied  by  one  hundred 
stores,  shops  and  markets.  The  people  of  a  number  of  smaller 
villages,  including  Vernon,  Vernon  Center,  Talcottville,  Elling- 
ton, Tolland,  Bolton,  Quarryville,  Coventry,  Broad  Brook  and 
Windsorville,  all  of  which  are  within  a  radius  of  a  few  miles, 
do  considerable  trading  in  Eockville.  There  are  numerous  hand- 
some and  substantial  business  blocks  in  the  city,  among  the 
number,  the  Prescott  Block  on  Park  Street,  the  Henry  Build- 
ing, at  the  corner  of  Park  Place  and  Park  Street,  Eockville 
National  Bank  Building,  Exchange  Block,  Doane  Block,  Citi- 
zens' Block,  all  in  the  center  of  the  city,  the  Fitch  Block 
on  Union  Street  and  the  Orcutt  property  on  East 
Main  Street  and  Market  Street,  and  the  Turn  Hall 
property  on  Village  Street.  There  is  one  first  class 
hotel,    "The    Eockville/'    and    several    smaller    hotels    and    two 


opera  houses,  or  theaters.  A  feature  that  appeals  to  every 
stranger,  the  tripled  terraced  streets,  adds  much  to  the  beauty 
in  the  center  of  the  city.  Located  on  Park  Place,  opposite 
Central  Park,  is  Eockville's  Memorial  Building,  erected  by  the 
town  in  1889,  in  memory  of  the  soldiers  and  sailors  who  fought 
in  the  Civil  War.  It  is  a  structure  of  character  and  dignity.  It 
contains  a  spacious  public  hall,  capable  of  seating  one  thousand 
persons,  also  the  rooms  of  Burpee  Post.  G.  A.  B.,  the  town  and 
city  offices,  superior  court  and  bar  library,  probate  office  for 
the  Ellington  District,  which  includes  the  towns  of  Vernon  and 
Ellington,  and  is  presided  over  by  Judge  John  E.  Fahey,  and 
police  headquarters  and  police  court  room.  For  a  city  its  size 
there  are  few,  if  any,  that  have  so  many  costly  and  magnificent 
residences.  A  very  large  percentage  of  the  people  own  their 
homes,  which  speaks  well  for  people  and  community.  The 
telephone  and  telegraph  facilities  are  first  class.  The  assessed 
valuation  of  the  property  in  the  town  is  $6,093,393,  an  express 
business  of  $30,000  per  annum  is  done  and  the  freight  business 
in  a  year  amounts  to  $200,000. 

The  geographical  position  of  Eockville  is  such  as  to  render 
impossible  the  allotment  of  much  space  for  parks,  gardens,  or 
even  a  desirable  location  of  the  public  streets.  The  city  is  by  no 
means  destitute  of  public  or  private  adornments  of  this  kind. 
There  are  three  parks.  Talcott  Park,  the  largest  in  the  city,  the 
gift  of  Phineas  Talcott.  was  donated  by  him  to  the  town  in  the 
early  fifties,  and  Central  Park  was  donated  by  adjacent 
land  owners  and  laid  out  in  its  present  shape  in  the  early 
seventies.  This  is  in  the  very  heart  of  the  city  on  the  main 
thoroughfare.  Although  small  in  area,  owing  to  the  arrange- 
ment of  the  streets,  it  presents  a  remarkably  pretty  picture  and 
attracts  the  attention  of  all  strangers. 

Nearly  four  score  and  ten  years  ago,  even  almost  before  the 
Eockville  of  today  proper  had  its  birth,  there  was  enacted  at  the 
east  end  of  the  town  a  drama  the  real  end  of  which  was  hardly 
then  completed.  General  Lafayette,  the  friend  and  former 
protector  of  an  embryo  nation  on  a  tour  through  this  country, 
honored  Eockville  by  his  presence,  stopping  for  a  few  hours  at 

92     summary  or  vernon's  history  ancient  and  modern 

the  old  King  Tavern,  now  the  town  almshouse.  On  Thursday. 
June  12,  1902,  Lafayette  Park  and  monument  were  dedicated 
in  memory  of  General  Lafayette.  The  memorial  is  the  result 
of  hard  and  persistent  work  of  Sabra  Trumbull  Chapter,  D.  A.  B. 
of  Eockville.  It  consists  of  a  large,  native  boulder  with  appro- 
priate inscription  on  a  bronze  plate.  The  boulder  is  located  on 
a  small  plot  of  land,  which  has  been  made  into  a  park  at  the 
intersection  of  Grove,  East  and  South  Streets,  Hyde  Avenue 
and  Coventry  Boad. 


The  growth  of  the  town  has  been  slow  and  substantial,  rather 
than  showy  and  meteoric.  The  entire  population  was  less  than 
a  score  of  families  in  1822,  six  of  whom  were  Grants.  In  1823 
there  were  five  families  in  the  Eock  District.  In  1840  there  were 
six  hundred  inhabitants  in  the  chain  of  little  houses  that  clus- 
tered about  the  mills.  Up  to  the  year  1841,  so  far  as  can  be 
learned,  the  people  of  Eockville  were  accustomed  to  getting  their 
mail  at  Vernon  Center,  which  was  the  "Hub,"  being  the  only 
voting  place  in  the  town  and  the  center  of  business  in  general. 
At  this  time  Eockville  was  just  beginning  to  put  on  its  village 
clothes.  It  had  no  hotels,  it  had  no  steam  roads  and  no  trolley 
cars.  The  polling  place  for  the  town  was  in  the  conference  room 
of  the  Congregational  Church  at  Vernon  Center,  which  was 
built  in  1826.  Everyone  went  there  to  vote  until  1856,  when 
town  and  electors'  meetings  began  to  be  held  in  alternate  years 
at  Eockville  and  Vernon  Center.  In  1865  all  such  meetings 
were  transferred  to  Eockville.  The  population  of  the  town  of 
Vernon  in  1810,  two  years  after  it  was  incorporated,  was  827;  in 
1820,  966;  in  1830,  1,164;  in  1840,  1,435;  in  1850,  2,900;  in 
1860,  3,838;  in  1870,  5,446;  in  1880,  6,915;  in  1890,  8,808;  in 
1900,  8,483;  in  1910,  9,087.  The  figures  of  the  thirteenth  cen- 
sus give  Eockville  city  a  population  of  7,977.  Nearly  all  nation- 
alities are  represented. 

Lewis  T.  Skinner  has  the  honor  of  being  the  oldest  male 
native  of  Vernon  living.  He  was  born  January  23,  1823,  and 
is  eighty-eight  years  old.  The  house  he  was  born  in  stood 
in  the  vicinity  of  the  old  meeting  house  at  Vernon  Center.     He 


was  personally  acquainted  with  twenty-five  of  the  one  hundred 
and  nine  freemen  of  the  town  where  it  was  incorpor- 
ated in  1808.  He  resided  in  the  town  for  thirty-five 
years.  He  now  lives  on  the  edge  of  East  Windsor 
about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  from  the  Vernon  town  line.  Up  to 
within  the  past  few  months  he  was  remarkably  spry  and  active, 
getting  outdoors  every  day  and  doing  his  regular  farm  work. 

Mrs.  Harriett  K.  Maxwell  is  the  oldest  female  native  of  Ver- 
non living.  She  was  born  May  2,  1823.  She  has  lived  in  the 
town  all  her  life  and  is  a  wonderfully  preserved  woman  and 
unusually  active  for  one  her  years,  with  keen  mental  perception 
and  enjoying  excellent  health.  She  is  the  widow  of  George 
Maxwell,  one  of  the  pioneers  of  the  town. 

William  Butler,  who  died  December  18,  1910  had  the  dis- 
tinction of  having  been  in  business  for  a  longer  period  than  any 
man  in  the  town — three  score  years.  Among  the  business  men 
now  living,  who  were  in  business  previous  to  the  outbreak  of  the 
Civil  War  are  the  following:  G.  A.  Groves,  of  Bradford,  Pa.. 
Joseph  Selden  of  Norfolk,  Henry  W.  Gove  of  Cottage  City, 
Hudson  Kellogg  of  Chicago  ;E.  S.  Henry,  H.  B.  Murlless,  L.  E. 
Thompson,  Francis  B.  Skinner,  0.  C.  West,  P.  E.  Gorman. 
Hugh  Kernan,  A.  Park  Hammond,  Erank  Grant.  George  Tal- 
cott,  Edgar  Keeney,  William  P.  Kobertson,  Charles  A.  Ladd, 
A.  0.  Thrall,  H.  L.  James,  Henry  Burke,  J.  C.  Hammond.  Jr. 
and  Dr.  John  B.  Lewis,  of  Hartford. 


Vernon  (Bockville)  has  indeed  reason  to  be  proud  of  her 
record  at  the  end  of  her  first  century.  A  wonderful  change  has 
taken  place  in  the  quiet  little  hamlet  of  a  hundred  years  ago. 
Then  there  were  seven  hundred  souls,  mostly  Yankee  farmers. 
Today  Vernon  is  nine  thousand  strong,  with  a  reputation  in 
manufacturing  that  extends  far  and  wide,  reaching  the  high  water 
mark  of  excellence,  being  first  in  the  states  in  the  manufacture 
of  the  finest  worsted  and  woolen  goods  silk  fish-lines  and  spool 
sewing  silks,  the  home  of  the  Hockanum  worsteds,  Belding  silks, 
Kingfisher  silk  fish-lines  and  the  parent  mill  of  the  United 
States  Envelope  Company.     The  city  operates    nine    hundred 


looms,  thirty-five  thousand  spindles  and  five  hundred  braiders, 
Thirty-four  hundred  hands  are  employed  with  a  weekly  payroll 
of  approximately  $35,000,  and  a  yearly  output  of  one  million 
five  hundred  thousand  yards  of  cloth.  Surely  Eockville  lives  up 
to  her  name,  the  "Loom  City,"  a  city  in  which  its  looms  of 
industry  are  building  honest  riches ;  a  city  whose  hills  loom  into 
the  regions  of  pure  air  and  invigorating  health,  crowned  by  good 
old  New  England  homes  in  which  abide  industry  and  integrity ; 
a  city  whose  achievements  in  all  the  pursuits  of  life  and  whose 
contributions  to  the  state  and  the  nation  stand  high  in  the  esti- 
mation of  the  American  brotherhood  of  municipalities.  May  we 
continue  to  press  forward,  doing  each  duty  as  it  presents  itself, 
placing  our  confidence  "in  the  God  of  our  fathers,  from  out 
whose  hand  the  centuries  fall  like  grains  of  sand."  What  will 
be  the  lot  of  those  who  will  be  here  one  hundred  years  hence,  to 
recall  the  origin  and  history  of  Vernon,  is  beyond  our  conception. 
Our  hope  is  that  it  will  be  as  peaceful,  as  prosperous,  and  as 
contented  as  our  own. 


President  of  General  Committee,  Vernon  Centennial  Celebration. 


The  following  resolutions  authorizing  the  centennial  celebra- 
tion by  vote  of  the  town  were  passed  at  a  special  town  meeting 
held  on  Friday  evening,  November  29,  1907,  in  the  Town  Hall: 

Resolved — That  the  legal  voters  of  the  town  of  Vernon  in  town 
meeting  assembled,  do  hereby  declare  themselves  in  favor  of  an 
"Old  Home  Week"  celebration,  to  be  held  during  some  week  in 
the  year  1908,  which  will  appropriately  mark  the  one-hundredth 
anniversary  of  the  town  of  Vernon,  and  that  a  committee  con- 
sisting of  the  board  of  selectmen  of  the  town,  the  town  treasurer, 
the  mayor  of  the  city  of  Eockville,  the  president  of  the  Eockville 
Business  Men's  Association  and  Hon.  Francis  T.  Maxwell,  rep- 
resenting the  manufacturing  interests  of  the  town,  be  and  they 
hereby  are  appointed  a  committee  with  power  to  select  fifteen 
other  residents  of  the  town,  representing  its  business  and  profes- 
sional interests  who,  together  shall  form  a  committee  of  twenty- 
two,  and  who  shall  have  power  to  arrange  for,  direct  and  carry 
out  all  plans  for  such  celebration  on  such  dates  as  they  shall 
select  and  which  shall  be  considered  most  appropriate  from  every 
standpoint:  said  committee  shall  have  power  to  appoint  any  and 
all  additional  committees  and  sub-committees  in  their  opinion 
necessary  for  the  celebration. 

Resolved — That  a  sum  not  to  exceed  $2,000  be  appropriated 
from  the  town  treasury  to  be  used  for  the  expenses  incurred  by 
the  "Old  Home  Week"  celebration  during  the  centennial  year  of 
the  town,  and  that  the  town  treasurer  be,  and  he  hereby  is  author- 
ized to  honor  any  and  all  orders  from  the  treasurer  of  the  general 
committee  for  such  amounts  as  the  committee  shall  need  from 
time  to  time,  not  to  exceed  in  the  aggregate  the  amount  appro- 
priated by  the  town. 

Resolved — That  the  city  of  Eockville  be  asked  to  do  what  it 
can  legally  do  to  co-operate  with  the  town  through  the  mayor 
and  Common  Council  in  making  the  celebration  a  success. 



Charles  Phelps,  President. 
Thomas  F.  Noone,  Vice-President. 
Joseph  C.  Hammond,  Jr.,  Secretary. 
Fred  Woodhall,  Assistant  Secretary. 
Parley  B.  Leonard,  Treasurer. 
Francis  B.   Skinner,  John   H.    Zimmermann, 

Paul  Brache,  George  Forster, 

Francis  T.  Maxwell,  David  A.  Sykks, 

Francis  A.  Randall,  Francis  J.  Began, 

George  P.  Wendheiser,  John  W.   Hefferon, 

Augustin  B.  Parker,  Charles  N.  McLean, 

C.  Denison  Talcott,  Harry  C.  Smith, 

Henry  H.  Willes,  Moritz  Kemnitzer, 

Charles  Backofen. 


Before  any  definite  steps  had  been  taken  to  celebrate  the  cen- 
tennial of  Vernon's  incorporation  as  a  political  factor  in  the 
commonwealth  of  Connecticut,  the  citizens  of  the  town  had 
their  attention  called  to  the  subject  in  an  editorial  which  ap- 
peared in  the  Rockville  Leader  on  Friday,  October  11,  1907, 
entitled,  "Let  a  Jubilee  Mark  Vernon's  One  Hundred  Years  of 
Existence  as  a  Town  Xext  Year."  In  the  same  issue  an  inter- 
esting  historical  article,  reprinted  from  the  Vernon  town  records, 
volume  Xo.  1,  appeared.  From  time  to  time  there  were  fre- 
quent references  in  the  public  prints  and  communications  from 
and  interviews  with  prominent  citizens  during  the  latter  part  of 
mo;  and  the  forepart  of  1908. 

The  first  decisive  step  toward  bringing  about  a  big  one- 
hundredtb  birthday  party  was  taken  by  the  Rockville  Business 
Men's  Association  on  Friday  evening,  October  25,  190*.  when 
resolutions  favoring  the  celebration,  were  unanimously  adopted. 

At  an  adjourned  meeting  of  the  general  centennial  committee 
in  the  Council  Chamber  on  Friday  evening,  December  27,  1!»CK. 


at  8  o'clock,  with  seventeen  out  of  the  twenty-two  members  in 
attendance,  organization  was  perfected  by  the  election  of  the 
following  officers :  President,  Charles  Phelps ;  vice-president, 
Thomas  F.  Noone ;  secretary,  Joseph  C.  Hammond,  Jr. ;  assistant 
secretary,  Fred  Woodhall ;  treasurer,  Parley  B.  Leonard.  Each 
one  received  a  unanimous  vote. 

Eealizing  the  magnitude  of  the  project  and  feeling  that  haste 
would  make  waste,  the  general  committee  in  charge  of  the  Vernon 
centennial  celebration  took  its  time  and  gave  careful  considera- 
tion to  every  phase  of  the  subject.  It  was  no  easy  task  to  deter- 
mine the  character  and  scope  of  the  celebration  and  to  fix  dates 
that  would  prove  satisfactory  from  every  standpoint.  Before 
deciding  this  question  the  general  committee  took  special  pains 
to  get  in  touch  with  public  sentiment  in  so  far  as  possible  and  to 
find  out  just  how  the  citizens  of  the  town  felt.  Through  inter- 
views with  citizens  in  all  the  walks  of  life,  which  appeared  in 
the  Leader,  some  idea  of  what  would  prove  satisfactory 
dates  was  obtained. 

Before  definitely  fixing  the  dates  for  the  celebration,  the 
general  committee  met  in  the  Council  Chamber  on  Friday  even- 
ing, January  17,  1908,  at  which  time  the  sub-committees  were 
announced  as  follows: 

Finance — Francis  T.  Maxwell,  C.  Denison  Talcott,  John  \\ . 
Hefferon,  Francis  A.  Randall,  John  H.  Zimmermann. 

Public  Exercises — Thomas  F.  Noone,  David  A.  Sykes,  George 
P.  Wendbeiser,  John  W.  Hefferon,  Moritz  Kemnitzer. 

Invitations  and  Reception  —  Parley  B.  Leonard,  George 
Forster,  Augustin  B.  Parker. 

Advertising,  Publicity  and  Printing — Francis  A.  Randall, 
Harry  C.  Smith,  Charles  Backofen,  George  P.  Wendbeiser. 

Decorations  and  Illuminations — Fred  Woodhall,  J.  C.  Ham- 
mond, Jr.  and  John  H.  Zimmermann. 

Transportation — Paul  Brache,  H.  H.  Willes,  F.  B.  Skinner, 
Francis  J.  Regan. 

Historical  Addresses,  Events  and  Relics — Joseph  C.  Ham- 
mond, Jr.,  Francis  T.  Maxwell,  Augustin  B.  Parker. 


Piiblic  Safety— Francis  J.  Kegan,  Charles  N.  McLean,  Henry 
H.  Willes,  George  Forster. 

Sports — Fred  Woodhall,  George  Forster,  Francis  B.  Skinner. 

Licenses  and  Privileges — David  A.  Sykes,  Francis  A.  Randall, 
George  P.  Wendheiser. 

Executive  Board — Charles  Phelps,  Thomas  F.  Noone,  Joseph 
C.  Hammond,  Jr.,  Fred  Woodhall,  and  Parley  B.  Leonard. 

Each  sub-committee  elected  a  chairman  and  secretary. 

It  was  not  until  Friday  evening,  March  13,  1908,  that  dates 
for  the  centennial  celebration  were  fixed.  At  a  largely  attended 
and  enthusiastic  meeting  of  the  general  committee,  it  was  the 
sense  of  all  that  the  question  of  dates  could  not  be  delayed 
longer.  A  friendly  discussion  took  place  and  ideas  were  asked 
for  and  given.  Nearly  all  the  members  of  the  committee  present 
favored  the  month  of  June,  owing  to  the  fine  weather  conditions 
that  usually  prevail  at  that  time.  It  was  unanimously  voted  to 
hold  the  celebration  from  June  28  to  July  4,  inclusive.  Having 
determined  the  character  and  dates  of  the  centennial,  the  sub- 
committees lost  no  time  in  getting  down  to  business.  The  mem- 
bers were  selected  with  great  care,  and  with  the  idea  of  getting 
those  adapted  to  the  work  devolving  upon  them,  and  willing  to 
bend  every  effort  and  put  forth  all  the  energy  they  possessed 
to  make  the  event  a  notable  and  successful  one.  Meeting  after 
meeting  was  held  and  with  scarcely  an  exception  the  members 
of  the  various  sub-committees  put  their  whole  hearts  and  souls 
into  their  work,  carrying  out,  in  a  manner  that  elicited  the 
heartiest  commendation,  the  trust  imposed  in  them  by  the  people 
of  Vernon,  and  by  their  untiring  activity,  undaunted  courage 
and  splendid  enthusiasm,  thoroughly  stirring  and  arousing  the 
cordial  support  ;\]]t\  hearty  co-operation  of  the  people. 

OPE  X  I  \  ( ;  ( )  F  C  E  LEBRATION ;  DEC(  >RATIO  X  S  AND 

At  last  !  After  mouths  of  preparation,  of  hard  work,  of  en- 
couragement and  obstacles,  of  enthusiasm  and  misgivings,  those 
who  had  labored  saw  the  fruition  of  their  efforts,  and  the  town 
of  Vernon  entered  upon  its  grand  centennial  celebration. 


Any  one-hundredth  birthday  of  a  person  or  of  a  place  is  a 
notable  events  and  that  of  our  town  must  live  long  in  the  mem- 
ories of  those  who  shared  therein,  and  have  permanent  interest 
for  such  as  shall  make  Vernon  their  future  home. 

Naturally,  the  story  of  this  historical  event  centers  and  circles 
in  and  about  the  city  of  Kockvrlle.  Here  began,  and  here  was 
consummated  the  desire  to  mark  the  growth  and  progress  of 
Vernon  by  a  scries  of  spectacles  and  exercises  which  should  leave 
a  lasting  record  in  the  minds  of  the  townspeople,  and  make  a 
worthy  subject  for  preservation  in  type. 

Doubtless  the  memories  still  freshest  with  those  who  can  look 
back  upon  the  events  of  that  week  in  June,  1908,  are  the  recol- 
lections of  the  decorations  which  transformed  our  streets  and 
open  spaces  into  a  stage-setting  of  more  than  theatrical  splendor. 
Private  houses,  public  buildings,  business  places,  all  contributed 
a  lavish  share  to  the  total  effect  of  beauty  and  carnival-like 
gaiety.  Never  before  had  Rockville's  natural  scenic  advantages 
been  so  utilized  and  enhanced  by  the  tasteful  touch  of  Art. 

If  the  daylight  effects  were  inspiring,  those  of  evening  and 
night  were  thrilling.  Myriads  of  many-colored  lights,  outlining 
buildings,  festooning  streets  and  parks,  made  up  a  veritable 
"blaze  of  glory."  Especially  worthy  of  mention  were  the  bril- 
liant effects  seen  about  Central  Park.  Here  were  erected  Ionian 
columns,  their  white  gracefulness  crowned  with  gilt;  and  festoon- 
ed from  pillar  to  pillar,  shone  thousands  of  electric  bulbs.  A 
pretty  effect  was  obtained  about  the  fountain  in  Park  Place 
by  twining  the  four  lamp-posts  with  laurel. 

Memorial  Hall,  as  was  fitting,  was  made  a  chief  feature  in 
the  scheme  of  decoration,  over  the  main  entrance  shining  the 
word  "Centennial,"  flanked  on  each  side  by  the  figures  "1808" 
and  "1908,"  respectively,  the  seal  of  the  state  being  also  outlined 
in  bulbs  of  red,  white,  and  blue. 

First  and  foremost  in  the  sentiments  expressed  by  the  decora- 
tions was  that  of  "Welcome."  This  heart-stirring  word  was  of 
frequent  appearance  by  day  and  night,  and  sounded  the  key- 
note of  the  whole  week's  festivities. 


Many  were  they  who  responded  to  the  home-call,  and  t'oundf 
that  "welcome"  was  indeed  the  common  salutation  to  all  home 
comers.  Indeed,  to  this  day,  we  think  and  speak  of  that  time- 
as  "Old  Home  Week." 

On  the  Sunday  of  June  28th,  special  services  in  all  of  the 
churches  marked  the  preliminary  approach  of  the  real  celebra- 
tion. Pastors  of  all  denominations  united  in  presenting  to  their 
people  some  thoughts  of  special  appropriateness  to  the  occasion. 
Music,  too,  was  a  large  factor  in  putting  the  minds  of  the  people- 
in  tune  with  all  the  harmony  and  delight  manifested  within  and 
without.  Without  in  any  way  slighting  the  value  and  enjoy- 
ment of  other  musical  performances,  it  seems  worthy  of  special 
remembrance  that  the  centennial  service  of  the  Union  Church 
was  the  occasion  of  presenting  Haydn's  magnificent  oratorio, 
"The  Creation."  It  was  indeed  a  fine  contribution  to  the  prog- 
ress of  Vernon  in  a  musical  sense. 

Perhaps  the  honor  of  inaugurating  the  celebration  proper 
remains  with  the  Gesang  and  Declamation  Club.  Just  before- 
midnight  of  Saturday  night,  this  association  assembled  in  Central 
Park  and  sang  "Forward  the  Light,"  and  "Milage  Dear." 

Thus  commenced  that  season  of  many  delightful  happenings 
which  were  crowded  into  the  next  few  days. 


"Back  to  Vernon  Center !"  That  might  well  have  been  the  cry 
which  stirred  the  people  of  Vernon  town  on  Monday,  June  29,. 
1908.  Such,  at  all  events,  was  what  took  place.  From  all  points,. 
towards  the  old  Mother  Church,  the  historic  Congregational 
Church  of  Vernon  Center — traveled  crowds  of  people  interested 
in  the  literary  exercises  of  the  day.  For  here  was  to  be  heard 
related  that  long  train  of  events  which  had  found  their  cul- 
mination in  this  one-hundredth  anniversary.  Within  the  walls, 
of  this  old  church  gathered  descendants  of  those  sturdy  and 
God-fearing  men  and  women,  who,  by  their  faith  and  their 
works,  laid  the  foundations  of  our  present-day  society,  both 
church  and  community. 


Ex-Representative  Henry  H.  Willes,  master  of  ceremonies, 
conducted  the  exercises.  Mr.  Willes  briefly  welcomed  those 
present,  thanked  the  centennial  committee  for  doing  the  old 
village  the  honor  of  having  the  exercises  on  that  historic  spot. 
and  assured  everyone  present  of  his  and  the  townspeople's  ap- 

Following  the  invocation  by  Rev.  C.  E.  McKinley  of  the 
Union  Congregational  Church  of  Rockville,  there  was  an  address 
of  welcome  by  Parley  B.  Leonard,  first  selectman  of  the  town 
■of  Vernon. 

M  r.  Leonard  spoke  as  follows : 


We  are  here  today  to  celebrate  the  one-hundredth  birthday  of 
the  town  of  Vernon,  and  as  this  spot  was  the  center  of  the  town 
for  many  years,  it  is  very  fitting  and  appropriate  that  these 
•exercises  should  take  place  as  planned.  I  do  not  propose  to  tell 
jou  what  happened  one  hundred  years  ago,  or  the  many  changes 
that  have  taken  place  during  the  time,  as  we  have  with  us  today 
able  speakers  who  will  address  you  along  these  lines. 

Your  committee  in  charge  has  arranged  a  very  attractive 
program  for  the  entire  week.  Yesterday,  religious  services  were 
held  in  all  the  churches,  and  it  was  an  event  long  to  be  remem- 
bered. There  will  be  attractions  in  Rockville  day  and  night 
•during  the  week,  and  every  day  will  be  a  big  day.  All  roads 
will  lead  to  Rockville,  and  the  gates  of  the  city  will  be  wide 
open.  All  are  welcome;  there  is  no  division  line,  as  to  you  and 
jour  ancestors  is  due  the  credit  for  the  growth  and  prosperity  of 
-our  beautiful  town. 

Come  and  be  with  us  as  much  of  the  time  as  possible,  for  this 
is  our  home,  and  we  want  to  keep  the  record  we  have  already 
obtained  of  having  as  good  a  home  as  anyone.  Your  presence 
will  help  to  make  the  week  enjoyable,  and  it  will  go  down  into 
history  as  one  of  the  most  notable  events  that  ever  took  place  in 

In  behalf  of  the  committee,  I  thank  you  for  the  interest  and 
enthusiasm  you  have  shown  here  today.  We  not  only  welcome 
jou,  but  urge  you  to  continue  with  us  the  entire  week. 


Following  Mr.  Leonard's  address,  the  act  of  the  general  as- 
sembly creating  the  town  of  Vernon  was  read  by  Town  Clerk 
Francis  B.  Skinner.    The  following  is  a  true  copy  of  the  record : 

"Upon  the  Petition  of  Oliver  King  and  Saul  Alvord,  of  Bolton, 
in  the  County  of  Tolland,  agents  for  said  town  of  Bolton,  in 
their  own  names,  and  in  the  names  and  behalf  of  the  rest  of  the 
inhabitants  of  said  town  of  Bolton,  shewing  to  this  Assembly 
that  said  town  is  about  eleven  miles  in  length  from  North  to 
South,  and  from  three  to  five  miles  in  width  from  East  to  West, 
and  is  divided  into  two  ecclesiastical  societies,  and  that  from  the 
situation  and  circumstances  of  the  inhabitants  of  said  town,  the 
same  ought  to  be  divided  into  two  towns  by  the  society  lines; 
and  that  all  questions  respecting  the  debts,  poor,  bridges,  and  all 
matters,  which  might  arise  in  consequence  of  a  division  of  said 
town,  have  been  amicably  settled  and  adjusted, — Praying  for  an 
Act  of  Assembly  to  divide  said  town  as  aforesaid  and  to  allow 
each  town  one  representative  only, — as  by  Petition  on  file  dated 
the  3d  day  of  May,  A.  D.  1808. 

"This  Petition  was  brought  to  the  General  Assembly  hoi  den  at 
Hartford  in  May  last,  and  thence  by  legal  continuance,  to  this 
Assembly,  with  an  order  to  advertise  notice  of  the  pendency  of 
the  same,  which  order  has  been  complied  with  and  no  opposition 
being  made  against  the  Prayer  of  said  Petition  and  the  facts 
stated  in  the  same  being  proved, — ■ 

"Besolved,  By  this  Assembly,  that  the  inhabitants  living  within 
the  limits  of  the  society  of  North  Bolton,  in  said  town  of  Bolton, 
be  and  they  thereby  are  incorporated  into  and  made  a  town  by 
the  name  of  Vernon;  and  that  they  and  their  successors,  inhabi- 
tants within  said  limits,  are,  and  shall  forever  remain  a  town 
and  body  politic  with  the  rights,  privileges  and  immunities  to 
other  towns  belonging,  excepting  that  they  shall  elect  only  one 
representative  to  the  General  Assembly  and  the  lines  and  limits 
of  said  society  shall  be  the  lines  and  limits  of  said  town  of 
Vernon. — 

"And  it  is  further  resolved,  that  said  town  of  Vernon  shall 
hold  their  first  town  meeting  at  the  meeting  house  in  said  Vernon 
on  the  third  Monday  of  November  next,  at  two  o'clock  in  the 


afternoon,  to  choose  their  town  officers  for  the  year  ensuing, — 
and  said  meeting  shall  he  warned  by  posting  a  notification  to 
that  effect  on  the  sign-post  in  said  Vernon  ten  days  before  said 
third  Monday  of  November,  which  notification  shall  be  signed 
by  Oliver  King,  Esquire,  who  shall  be  the  Moderator  of  said 
meeting;  and  in  case  the  said  King  shall  fail  to  perform  the  duty 
hereby  assigned  to  him,  the  same  may  be  performed  by  any 
other  justice  of  the  peace  in  any  town  adjoining  said  town  of 
Vernon. — ■ 

"And  it  is  further  resolved,  that  said  town  of  Bolton  shall 
hereafter  elect  no  more  than  one  representative  to  a  session  of  the 
General  Assembly. 

"A  true  copy  of  Record,  examined  by 

''Samuel  Wyllys, 


Vocal  selections  by  the  school  children,  under  the  direction 
of  Prof.  T.  William  Sturgeon,  were  a  pleasing  feature  of 
the  exercises,  preceding  the  reading  of  the  historical  essay  pre- 
pared by  C.  Denison  Talcott;  reminiscences  by  Captain  C.  W. 
Burpee  of  Hartford;  commemorative  poem  by  Pro  lessor  Thomas 
D.  Goodell  of  New  Haven,  and  commemorative  address  by  Bon. 
Charles  Phelps.  Each  of  these  notable  contributions  will  be 
found  printed  in  full. 

Just  before  the  close  of  the  exercises  at  the  church,  Rev.  C:  E. 
McKinley,  pastor  of  the  Union  Congregational  Church,  Rock- 
ville,  arose  and  said  that  he  desired  to  make  a  motion,  and  that 
was,  that  the  congregation,  before  it  leaves,  show  its  appreciation 
of  the  old  church  at  Vernon  Center  and  the  village,  by  subscrib- 
ing to  a  fund  to  rebuild  the  church  steeple.  The  motion  did  not 
want  for  seconders.  Pastor  McKinley  gave  an  impetus  to  the 
movement  by  making  a  very  generous  contribution  himself.  Ex- 
Representative  H.  H.  Willes,  master  of  ceremonies,  made  a  few 
remarks,  saying  how  pleasing  such  a  suggestion  as  Mr.  McKinley 
had  made  would  be  to  the  people.  He  announced  that  he  would 
give  $100  toward  the  object  himself.  Rev.  C.  E.  McKinley 
temporarily  assumed  charge  and  called  for  subscriptions.  The 
sum  of  $260.00  was  secured  from  among  those  present.     After 


the  exercises  Mr.  Willes  went  among  the  people  and  succeeded 
in  getting  additional  contributions,  which  brought  the  total 
amount  up  to  $800.00.  At  the  present  time  only  a  few  hundred 
dollars  more  are  necessary  to  raise  the  sum.  of  $2,500.00,  the- 
amount  necessary  to  restore  the  spire. 

The  literary  exercises  closed  with  the  benediction  by  Rev.  E. 
Payson  Hammond  of  Hartford.  Before  pronouncing  the  bene- 
dict ion  he  made  a  few  appropriate  remarks,  referring  to  the  many 
years  he  bad  lived  in  Vernon  and  of  the  many  times  he  had 
preached  in  the  pulpit  of  the  Vernon  Center  Congregational 
Church,  of  the  numerous  prayer  meetings  he  had  attended  and 
the  great  interest  and  enjoyment  he  had  taken  in  them  all. 

After  the  literary  exercises  in  the  church  were  over,  there  was- 
a  social  gathering  on  the  beautifully  kept  lawn  with  selections 
by  Ulivieri's  Band  of  Florence,  Italy.  Refreshments  were  also- 


Following  is  the  historical  essay,  which  was  written  for 
the  occasion  by  C.  Denison  Talcott  of  Talcottville,  and  read 
by  him : 

You  have  come  today  into  this  house  of  worship  to  hear 
recounted  the  glories  of  our  beloved  Vernon.  This  build- 
ing itself,  in  which  we  are  assembled,  teems  with  the  hal- 
lowed memories  of  the  fathers  that  are  gone.  For  those 
who  have  reached  a  ripe  old  age,  it  will  be  impossible  for 
me  to  lend  a  coloring  to  events  which  can  be  satisfactory 
or  compare  with  living  experience.  I  only  hope  that  as  the 
more  important  triumphs  are  passed  in  review,  you  will 
picture  them  yourselves,  anew,  in  your  minds,  and  out 
of  this  reveries  supply  those  details  which  must  otherwise 
be  lacking.  For  those  in  middle  life  who  have  come  from 
distant  lands  and  made  their  homes  within  the  boundaries 
of  this  town,  I  shall  endeavor  to  dwell  upon  those  early 
struggles,  by  reason  of  which  it  has  been  possible  to  re- 
ceive so  many,  and  having  received  them  into  our  strength 


and  fellowship,  to  mould  a  noble  body  politic — our  pre- 
vious possession  today.  For  us,  younger  voters,  there  can 
be  from  a  reflection  upon  the  hundred  years  that  have 
passed  but  one  effect — an  abiding"  inspiration. 

Eighteen  hundred  and  eight  is  the  year  towards  which 
our  minds  are  turning  today.  On  the  second  Thursday  of 
October,  1808,  by  an  act  of  the  General  Assembly  of  the 
state  of  Connecticut,  a  section  of  the  town  of  Bolton  was 
set  off  and  incorporated  into  the  town  of  Vernon.  Possibly 
many  of  you  have  wished  that  this  town  had  not  been  set 
off  from  another,  but  had  entered  the  county  along  with 
the  other  towns,  in  1785,  the  time  when  the  county  of  Tol- 
land was  set  apart  as  one  of  the  principal  divisions  of  the 
.state.  Contrary  to  this  idea,  I  believe  that  the  creation  of 
Vernon  by  a  special  act  of  the  Legislature  reflects  the  highest 
possible  credit  upon  those  who  constituted  her  citizens.  All 
districts  required  a  separation  originally,  and  the  fact  that 
the  townspeople  of  North  Bolton  were  so  aggressive  and 
resourceful  as  to  be  recognized  by  the  state  government  at 
that  early  time,  accounts  in  no  small  measure  for  the  leader- 
ship in  the  county  which  Vernon  enjoy  so  pre-eminently 

The  early  settlers,  previous  to  1808,  were  attracted  by  the 
power  of  the  two  streams  now  familiar  to  us  all  as  the 
Hockanum  and  the  Tankarooson.  To  follow  these  waters 
through  an  undisturbed  wildness  of  a  thousand  years  was 
no  mean  task.  In  fact,  land  companies,  acting  as  proprie- 
tors, were  formed  by  leading  citizens  of  the  Connecticut 
Valley,  for  the  purpose  of  developing  and  creating  town- 
ships in  just  such  a  wilderness  as  was  Tolland  County  at 
that  time.  The  towns  of  Bolton,  Tolland  and  Union  were 
opened  and  established  by  companies  of  this  sort.  How 
was  it  with  Vernon  ?  To  Samuel  Grant  of  Windsor,  we 
give  honor  for  that  undaunted  spirit  which  made  him  the 
•clear  possessor  of  the  land  upon  which  the  city  of  Rock- 
ville  is  built  today.  Mr.  Grant  was  the  owner  of  between 
five  hundred  and  six  hundred  acres  of  land  in  North  Bolton, 

108  n:\ 'n:\M.\L  exercises 

but  being"  a  non-resident  and  having  no  particular  interest 
in  the  plans  of  the  proprietors  of  that  township,  he  was 
induced  to  swap  off  his  original  farm  for  the  rugged  lands 
now  so  luxuriant  with  wealth.  This  transaction  was  due 
solely  to  the  courage  and  vision  of  a  fearless  pioneer.  April 
29,  1726,  Mr.  Grant  took  possession  and  erected  the  first 
dwelling  house  near  the  corner  of  Union  and  West  streets. 

In  those  primitive  times  the  great  and  most  natural  needs 
soon  started  the  saw  and  grist  mill.  Nearly,  if  not  the  first, 
dam  across  the  free  waters  of  the  Hockanum.  was  built  by 
the  Payne  family  and  was  located  on  the  present  Minter- 
burn  privilege.  From  1730  on  the  Grants  and  Paynes  made 
use  of  the  abundant  power,  produced  the  necessary  lumber, 
and  took  care  of  the  grinding  of  the  crops. 

The  question  naturally  comes  to  us.  "Did  these  stalwart 
explorers  never  meet  the  Indian?"  The  historian  is  of 
the  opinion  that  this  section  was  used  as  a  hunting  and 
fishing  ground,  but  was  probably  never  a  regular  abode  of 
the  red  man.  In  1675  by  the  will  of  the  old  Sachem  Joshua, 
son  of  Uncas,  the  northern  hunting  grounds  w'ere  trans- 
ferred to  the  white  men  of  the  Saybrook  plantation.  This 
was  the  final  trumpet,  and  accomplished  for  Connecticut,  at 
least,  the  "Last  of  the  Mohicans."  An  extract  from  this 
old  Colonial  record  reads  as  follows :  "I  give  and  bequeath 
all  that  tract  of  land  lying  from  the  mountains  in  sight 
of  Hartford,  northward  to  the  pond  called  Shenaps."  Shen- 
aps  is  a  confusion  of  Schenipset,  our  Snipsic,  just  as  Mohi- 
can and  Mohegan  are  applied  to  the  Indians  of  the  Hudson 
and  of  Connecticut,  although  one  race.  Not  only  by  this 
reference  to  Lake  Snipsic  from  the  will  of  an  old  Indian 
chief,  but  by  arrow  heads  and  other  relics,  we  know  that 
the  red  men  at  least  encamped  temporarily,  during  their 
summer  excursions,  in  this  territory  of  Vernon.  From  1675, 
moreover,  we  are  likewise  sure  that  their  influence  and  ac- 
tivity ceased.  It  is  perfectly  safe  to  say,  therefore,  in 
answer  to  the  query — did  the  early  settler  never  meet  the 
Indian? — that  by   1725,  the   date  of  the  arrival  of  Samuel 


Grant,  there  were  scarcely  more  traces  of  the  red  man  to  be 
found  than  there  are  today. 

The  rude,  one-story  cabin,  the  primitive  mill,  the  rough, 
hard  clearing,  enveloped  by  nature,  irresistible,  impassable, 
silent,  yet  slowly  but  surely  vanquished  by  the  sinewy  arm 
of  the  man  of  faith,  this  is  the  scene  from  1725  to  the  close 
of  the  eighteenth  century. 

What  shall  we  say  of  the  primal  virtues  of  our  fathers? 
What  was  the  moulding  force,  the  sustainer  of  faith  and 
hope?  On  November  24,  1762,  Rev.  Ebenezer  Kellogg  ac- 
cepted the  call  of  the  church  in  North  Bolton,  to  settle  in 
the  work  of  the  Christian  ministry.  As  the  North  Bolton 
Society  occupied  the  same  territory  as  our  town  of  Vernon, 
we  are  right  in  speaking  of  "Sir.  Kellogg  as  the  first  pastor 
of  the  First  Church  of  Christ  in  Vernon.  This  pastorate 
was  alike  unique  for  its  extreme  length  as  well  as  for  its 
far-reaching  and  abiding  effect.  For  fifty-five  years  Mr. 
Kellogg  labored  without  interruption  in  the  ministry  of  this 
one  church.  During  this  long  period  not  only  did  many  of  the 
early  members  themselves  become  preachers,  but.  through 
the  spirit  of  migration  which  sent  far  and  wide  fully  half  of 
the  population  of  the  town,  the  benignity  of  this  first  pastor 
was  shed  throughout  every  northern  state.  Flow  better 
can  we  speak  of  this  remarkable  character,  simple,  yet  so 
sublime,  than  by  a  few  of  his  own  words  on  the  fiftieth  anni- 
versary of  his  ordination  :  "Time  in  its  nature  is  fleeting. 
It  bears  all  the  living  along  with  it.  As  to  myself,  the  time 
of  my  departure  is  near  at  hand.  And  in  view  of  the  pros- 
pect of  that  solemn  day,  I  am  supported  with  a  believing 
hope  that  I  trust  in  my  all-sufficient  Savior,  and  that  I 
have  not  labored  altogether  in  vain  among  you."  This 
benign  and  peace-loving  nature  was  the  source  of  the  faith 
and  hope  of  the  fathers.  Of  the  Puritan  mind  like  their 
pastor,  our  ancestors  reflected  every  Puritan  tradition.  The 
idea,  foremost  in  the  minds  of  all,  was  the  call  to  the  serv- 
ice of  religion.  They  were  remarkably  united  and  content, 
and  next  to  their  anxiety  to  know  the  right,  and  do  it,  was 


a  like  fervency  and  loyalty  toward  the  government.  In 
conclusion  the  theory  of  their  lives  is  clear — -not  how  much 
they  might  he  ahle  to  get  out  of  the  society  of  their  fellows, 
but  rather  how  best  they  could  give  of  themselves  to  the 
well-being  of  all. 

In  1789  North  Bolton  was  enlarged  more  than  a  third  by 
the  annexation  of  a  section  of  the  town  of  East  Windsor. 
This  section  had  long  been  a  part  of  the  North  Bolton 
Ecclesiastical  Society,  but  had  not  been  formally  incorpo- 
rated as  a  part  of  the  township.  From  this  union  of  terri- 
tory was  derived,  virtually,  the  boundaries  of  our  town  of 

We  come  now  to  the  formative  period  of  our  manufac- 
tures, the  development  of  which  has  drawn  so  large  from 
the  best  of  our  life  blood,  and  has  given  us  in  return  so 
great  a  dividend  of  honor  and  respect. 

The  first  machinery  for  carding  and  spinning  was  built 
by  John  Warburton.  Mr.  Warburton  came  from  England 
in  1794,  and  shortly  after  located  on  the  privilege  now  held 
by  Talcott  Brothers.  Here,  after  much  preparation,  were 
manufactured  the  first  stocking  yarns  and  thread.  The  his- 
torian makes  mention  in  particular  of  the  liberal  and  unique 
hospitality  of  Air.  Warburton.  On  the  highway  a  hogs- 
head of  Jamaica  rum  was  kept  on  tap  in  an  open  shed, 
free  to  all.  Your  historian  feels  safe  in  saying  in  general, 
that  whatever  rum  comes  into  Talcottville  today  does  not 
-come  from  Jamaica.  Near  the  present  iron  bridge  there 
still  remain  the  two  brick  houses  built  by  Mr.  Warburton. 
In  1809  the  Warburton  property  was  bought  by  Alexander 
McLean,  Lebbeus  B.  Tinker,  Irad  Fuller  and  Colonel  Fran- 
cis McLean.  L'nder  Alexander  McLean's  leadership  the 
property  now  became  known  as  McLean's  wool-carding 
plant.  In  one  part  of  this  plant  Peter  Dobson  made  his  first 
preparations  for  the  spinning  of  cotton.  Together  with  Ches- 
ter King  and  James  Chapman,  he  bought  the  privilege  now 
occupied  by  the  Ravine  Mills  Company.  By  the  spring  of 
1811  a  mill  was  completed  and  two  mules  of  one  hundred  and 


ninety-two  spindles  each  were  in  operation.  Mr.  Dobson,  as 
the  first  to  assemble  the  yarns  and  develop  the  art  of  weav- 
ing, may  rightly  be  called  our  first  manufacturer.  He  was  not 
only  a  natural  mathematician,  but  a  practical  draughtsman 
as  well.  He  both  made  his  designs  and  constructed  his  ma- 
chinery— a  rare  combination  of  genius.  Think  how  la- 
borious were  those  first  efforts !  Much  of  the  raw  stock 
was  carded  at  McLean's,  then  spun  by  Dobson  in  his  own 
mill,  afterwards  put  out  by  him  to  housewives  for  weav- 
ing, and  finally  sold  to  peddlers,  owing  to  opposition  to  all 
goods  of  American  make. 

How  now  do  we  connect  these  first  attempts  of  Dobson 
in  southern  Vernon  with  the  beginning  of  manufacturing 
in  Rockville?  Up  to  1811  Dobson's  yarns  had  been  used 
especially  to  meet  the  primal  needs  of  the  home — shirtings,, 
sheetings,  ginghams,  tablecloths.  All  these  fabrics  were 
woven  on  cumbersome  looms  with  the  simplest  possible 
weave.  In  this  year.  1811,  Delano  Abbott,  a  farmer  living 
not  far  from  Vernon  Center,  consulted  Peter  Dobson  with 
regard  to  a  sample  of  woolen  cloth  which  had  particularly 
attracted  him.  Mr.  Abbott  made  up  his  mind  to  manu- 
facture this  cloth.  He  persuaded  Mr.  Dobson  to  build 
the  necessary  machinery,  and  in  1812,  in  a  building  close 
to  his  house,  produced  the  first  piece  of  satinet.  The  cloth 
was  carried  to  Simeon  Cooley's  to  be  fulled  and  finished. 
This  clothing  works  was  located  near  the  old  Payne  privi- 
lege on  the  site  of  a  traditional  iron  works — clearly  a  con- 
siderable distance  from  Mr.  Abbott's  homestead.  To  the 
vision  of  Delano  Abbott  and  to  his  faith  to  act  upon  what 
he  saw,  we  are  indebted  for  the  beginning  in  Vernon  of 
the  regular  manufacture  of  woolens.  Two  years  later,  in 
1814,  encouraged  by  the  success  of  Mr.  Abbott,  a  nephew 
of  his,  Ebenezer  Xash,  built  a  small  mill  on  the  old  Hocka- 
lmiii  Site.  This  effort  of  Mr.  Xash  was  the  start  of  manu- 
facture in  Rockville. 

For  some  years  Colonel  Francis  McLean  had  fostered  many 
and  varied  enterprises.    He  was  a  man  of  great  mental  vigor 


and  the  possessor  of  an  indomitable  will.  In  his  youth 
there  was  evident  this  same  intensity  of  character.  Work, 
heavy  and  constant  on  his  father's  farm,  developed  a  phy- 
sique of  great  power.  Referring  to  his  military  service,  the 
Colonel  remarks  :  "At  18  years  old  I  became  a  soldier,  then 
was  chosen  corporal,  then  a  sergeant,  orderly  sergeant,  en- 
sign, lieutenant,  captain,  major,  and  at  last  colonel."  He 
adds  :  "I  went  up  too  fast  from  one  office  to  another  for 
my  good."  This  was  the  caliber  of  a  leading  spirit — gen- 
erous, high-minded,  and  firm  in  principle.  Such  nobility  be- 
came the  bulwark  of  the  early  institutions  of  our  town.  In 
1821  Colonel  McLean,  George  and  Allen  Kellogg  and  Ralph 
Talcott  organized  for  the  regular  manufacture  of  satinets. 
They  erected  a  building  80x30  and  three  stories  high,  on  the 
present  Rock  Site.  This  structure  loomed  up  so  mightily 
and  was  actually  so  much  larger  than  anything  previously 
attempted,  that  to  the  inhabitants  it  appeared  indeed  a  posi- 
tive prodigy.  This  was  a  real  factory,  in  fact,  the  first 
that  might  properly  be  called  by  that  name.  It  was  called 
the  Rock,  because  of  the  many  great  rocks  thereabout,  and 
the  name  of  Rockville  followed  naturally  from  the  name 
of  this  first  factory.  We  have  mentioned  George  Kellogg 
and  Allen  Kellogg  as  two  of  the  proprietors  of  this  mill. 
Another  brother,  Nathaniel  O.  Kellogg,  a  few  years  before, 
in  1817,  bought  the  Warburton  privilege  in  southern  Vernon 
which  McLean  had  operated  as  a  wool-carding  plant.  Here 
Mr.  Kellogg  added  spinning  and  weaving  equipment  for 
the  manufacture  of  the  same  cloth — satinet.  Hence  the 
early  development  of  this  new  industry  was  almost  simul- 
taneous at  both  extremities  of  the  town. 

In  1821,  when  the  first  Rock  Mill  was  completed,  the  scat- 
tered population  was  hardly  fifty  persons  all  told.  At  least 
a  third  of  these  were  Grants,  descendants  of  the  pioneer, 
and  from  them  Colonel  McLean  purchased  the  land  neces- 
sary for  the  new  mill.  The  surrounding  country  was  in  real- 
ity the  forest  primeval.  In  1823  there  were  only  two  dwell- 
ings in  the  vicinity  of  the  Rock  Mill,  and  these  necessarily 

Vice-President       Vernon       Centennial 
Committee    and    Chairman    of    Com- 
mittee   on   Public   Exercises. 

J.    C.    HAMMOND,    JR. 

Secretary.  .Member  Committee  on  De- 
corations and  Member  of  Committee 
on  Historical  Addresses,  Events  and 

Treasurer    General  Committee.    Mem- 
ber of  Committee  on  Reception  and 

Assistant   Secretary   of  General    Com- 
mittee,   Member    of    Committees    on 
Decorations   and   Sports. 


served  for  owners  and  workers  alike.  All  at  that  early  time 
felt  not  only  the  need  of  keeping  shoulder  to  shoulder,  but 
I  believe,  possessed  a  spirit  of  affection,  a  real  brother- 
hood, which  might  well  be  a  lesson  for  us  today,  in  the 
complexity  of  our  modern  life. 

Up  to  1826  the  only  changes  worthy  of  note  were  within 
the  mill  itself.  The  most  significant  improvement  was  the 
introduction  of  power  looms  executed  from  the  designs  of 
Lewis  Beach  and  William  T.  Cogswell,  later  the  author  of 
"The  History  of  Rockville."  The  process  of  spinning  like- 
wise was  simplified  by  the  adoption  of  the  spinning  jack. 
These  mechanical  improvements  had  a  revolutionary  effect 
both  on  the  general  business  of  satinets  and  the  rapid  in- 
crease of  the  inhabitants.  The  actual  number  of  families 
was  thirteen.  Two  hundred  yards  in  a  twelve-hour  day.  this 
was  the  new  record  for  the  Rock  Mill  in  1827.  The  popula- 
tion likewise  increased  a  third.  A  new  house  for  Mr.  Kel- 
logg, and  a  reorganization  of  the  mill  company,  with  a  much 
larger  capital,  under  the  name  of  the  Rock  Manufacturing 
Company,  these  were  the  signs  of  advancement. 

Another  event,  signalling  the  growing  wealth  and  ambi- 
tion of  the  community,  was  the  building  by  the  church  in 
Vernon  of  a  new  meeting  house.  This  new  house  of  wor- 
ship was  dedicated  on  April  4.  1827,  and  is  the  present  edi- 
fice in  which  we  are  gathered.  Regularly  on  the  Sabbath 
the  people  of  the  Rock  District  attended  the  services  of 
this  First  Church  of  Christ.  In  fact,  "the  most  notice- 
able sight  of  the  day  was  the  large  team  wagon  of  the 
Rock  Company  with  four  horses,  driven  by  John  Chapman, 
Jr.,  full  loaded  with  girls  from  the  Rock  Factory."  The 
spirit  in  which  this  building,  as  well  as  many  others,  was 
raised,  shows  us  how  remarkably  universal  was  the  license 
of  the  early  part  of  the  century.  Honorable  men  could 
see  no  evil  in  drink,  even  the  pastors  indulged  themselves 
freely  on  festive  occasions.  The  prevailing  idea  seemed  to 
be  that  liquor  was  always  a  benefit,  indeed,  it  became 
a  panacea  for  every  ill.    We  must  remember  that  these  were 


times  of  great  hardihod  and  self-sacrifice.  The  logic  was 
simple.  Here  were  the  crops,  close  by  were  the  distilleries. 
If  comfort  were  so  easily  forthcoming,  why  should  they  not 
have  it?  Yet,  out  of  that  age  of  well-meaning  license,  there 
arose  a  company  of  men,  remarkable  in  temperance  and 
wonderful  in  virtue. 

Colonel  McLean  was  continually  interested  in  some  new 
enterprise.  Following  the  old  Rock,  he  built  the  Frank 
Factory,  close  to  the  site  now  occupied  by  the  James  J. 
Regan  Manufacturing  Company,  then  an  oil  mill  at  the  New 
England  bridge,  and  at  length  a  paper  mill  near  the  present 
Belding  privilege.  He  likewise  did  considerable  surveying, 
particularly  in  the  laying  out  of  new  roads.  These  varied 
undertakings  became  so  pressing  that  in  1831,  Colonel 
McLean  closed  his  relations  with  the  old  Rock.  George 
Kellogg  naturally  succeeded  as  the  head  of  the  company. 

In  contrast  to  the  marvelous  achievement  of  Colonel 
McLean  as  an  engineer,  Mr.  Kellogg  presented  an  equally 
remarkable  power.  He  was  an  aggressor  and  a  sustainer,  in 
truth — -an  enduring  force.  As  founder  of  the  New  England 
Mill  in  company  with  Captain  Allen  Hammond,  he  shared, 
when  one  considers  those  troublesome  times  of  '37,  a  confi- 
dence truly  unique.  A  mind  of  rare  discrimination,  a  sublime 
morality,  a  constant  energy,  we  today  do  honor  to  the  char- 
acter of  George  Kellogg,  consecrated  in  truth,  "To  the  weal 
of  man  and  the  glory  of  God."  In  that  same  year,  1837,  a 
committee  of  nine  was  appointed  to  procure  a  site  and  affix 
a  stake  for  the  Second  Church  in  Vernon.  This  action  was 
taken  because  the  population  had  steadily  increased,  and 
was  now  more  than  sixty  families,  or  three  hundred  persons. 
The  cost  of  this  new  meeting  house  was  met  by  voluntary 
subscription,  and  was  necessarily  borne  by  a  few  individ- 
uals. We  know  that  George  Kellogg  was  one  of  the  first 
deacons  of  this  church,  we  know  also  that  he  possessed 
the  crowning  virtue  of  all  noble  characters — true  generosity. 
We  may.  therefore,  rightly  and  in  more  senses  than  one, 
call  him  the  "Father  of  the   First  Church  in  Rockville." 


Mention  has  already  been  made  of  Captain  Allen  Ham- 
mond and  his  connection  with  the  New  England  Mills.  Mr. 
Hammond  belonged  to  that  group  of  sterling  citizens,  who, 
in  recalling  with  honor  today,  we  but  exalt  and  honor  our- 
selves. Of  an  unassuming  nature,  persistent  in  principle,  he 
became  a  guiding  spirit  of  every  honest  impulse,  a  vital 
force  ever  pointing  upward.  In  addition  to  his  associa- 
tion with  the  New  England  Company,  Mr.  Hammond  was 
for  a  time  agent  of  the  Rock  Company,  also  an  organizer 
and  first  president  of  the  Rockville  National  Bank,  as  well 
as  treasurer  of  the  savings  bank.  Through  this  relationship 
to  the  last-named  institutions,  the  character  of  Mr.  Ham- 
mond is  revealed  in  its  truest  and  most  perfect  light.  To 
•distinguished  probity  there  was  added  that  charm  of  real 
greatness — unaffected  modesty. 

All  the  manufacturing  companies,  except  during  the  gen- 
eral depression  of  1837-'38,  had  an  excellent  record.  Among 
the  small,  one-set  mills,  the  Springville  Company  was  espe- 
cially notable  for  continuously  handsome  dividends.  The 
directors  of  this  company  were  unusually  practical  men — 
Alonzo  Bailey,  agent:  Chauncey  Winched,  wheelwright; 
Christopher  Burdick,  machinist,  and  Phineas  Talcott,  later 
founder  of  the  American  Mill.  Up  to  the  year  1840,  the 
several  districts  were  recognized  by  the  names  of  the  va- 
rious mill  companies.  In  1841  the  first  post  office  was  estab- 
lished and  the  name  Rockville  adopted.  Samuel  P.  Rose, 
agent  for  the  Rock  Manufacturing  Company,  became  the 
first  postmaster.  The  New  York  and  Boston  stage  (we 
must  remember  these  were  still  the  days  of  stage  coaches), 
now  made  its  regular  trip  through  Rockville.  At  length, 
after  twenty  years  of  earnest  struggle,  nature  had  yielded 
her  supremacy,  farmers  had  graduated  to  manufacturers,  a 
settlement  had  given   place  to  an  ordained  village. 

From  this  time  on  there  was  in  every  direction  a  rapid 
expansion.  In  1843.  on  land  offered  by  the  Rock  Company, 
Samuel  P.  Rose  and  Hubbard  Kellogg  built  the  first  hotel. 
Before  this  time  there  had  been  no  suitable  meeting  place 


for  the  development  of  the  general  social  side  of  life.  So 
great  was  the  satisfaction,  therefore,  on  the  completion  of 
this  first  public  house,  that  a  great  festive  gathering  was 
held,  and  our  fathers  and  mothers  regaled  themselves  in  a 
way,  judging  from  the  records,  easily  equal  to  any  idea  of 
gaiety  that  we  may  pride  ourselves  on  today — not  so  sci- 
entific, perhaps,  but  fully  as  robust.  In  that  same  year, 
1843,  the  New  England  Company,  in  a  new  mill,  began  the 
manufacture  of  cassimeres,  the  first  departure  from  the 
time-honored  satinet.  Rockville  began  to  assume  the  form 
in  which  we  see  it  today.  One  store  established  in  1833, 
was  no  longer  sufficient.  Houses  multiplied  and  there  was 
heralded  the  first  real  boom  in  real  estate. 

The  year  1847  witnessed  the  building  of  the  American 
Mill  by  Phineas  Talcott.  Mr.  Talcott  was  distinctly  a  man 
of  affairs.  As  agent  of  the  Rock,  president  of  the  railroad 
company  and  of  the  savings  bank,  he  was  another  example 
of  the  powerful  virtues  of  our  fathers.  In  the  realm  of 
politics,  his  temperament,  eminently  judicial,  carried  him  to 
the  principal  offices,  and  made  him  always  a  factor  of  very 
great  influence.  Shortly  after,  in  1850,  the  firm  of  White 
and  Corbin  was  organized.  Cyrus  White  possessed  a  re- 
markable energy,  and  was  largely  interested  in  the  develop- 
ment of  the  Brooklyn  side  of  the  Hockanum.  As  a  supporter 
of  the  Methodist  denomination,  his  firmness  of  principle  and 
truth  of  heart  was  continuously  manifest. 

The  first  Irishman  came  to  Vernon  as  early  as  1845,  and 
the  German  a  few  years  later.  So  large  has  been  their  in- 
crease and  so  prominent  their  work  in  the  township,  that 
we  are  glad  to  do  honor  today  to  the  Irish  and  German 
immigrant,  through  whose  thrift  and  integrity  Vernon  truly 
has  builded  well. 

During  those  years  of  darkness  from  1861-'64,  when  times 
were  troubled,  and  days  and  hours  were  racking  to  the  soul ; 
in  that  great  war  of  the  Rebellion,  Vernon  cheerfully  yielded 
her  portion  to  the  service  of  the  nation. 


Of  modern  Vernon  and  the  noble  lives  that  have  been 
lived,  men  whose  memories  are  still  fresh  in  our  minds, 
and  whose  passing  calls  back  again  regrets  still  lingering, 
of  these,  today,  how  shall  we  speak  with  proper  honor  or 
with  sufficient  thankfulness?  Editors,  merchants,  farmers, 
the  professions,  artisans,  manufacturers — think,  for  a  mo- 
ment, of  the  long  roll  of  honor !  Permit  me  to  make  mention 
of  three  whose  names  stand  forth  with  peculiar  luster: 
Dwight  Loomis,  Christian  statesman,  impartial  judge ; 
George  Maxwell,  master  of  finance,  leader  of  men  ;  George 
Sykes,  manufacuring  genius,  captain  of  industry.  These 
men  and  many  more  fought  great  battles  of  faith.  As  we 
turn  our  eyes  toward  the  future,  let  me  suggest  a  simple 
watchword  united  to  the  fair  name  of  our  town,  and  to 
bring  these  lines  of  reflection  to  a  close  with  the  words: 
"Forward !  Vernon !" 



The  following  reminiscences  were  by  Charles  W.  Burpee 
of  Hartford,  a  former  Rockville  boy: 

There  were  missionaries  in  those  days.  To  help  some 
of  them,  we  bought  chestnuts,  each  nut  in  a  cute  little 
phial,  corked  in.  I  came  across  one  of  those  chestnuts  a 
while  ago,  in  my  mother's  attic.  The  chestnut  was  just 
as  good  as  it  was  when  I  gave  five  of  my  precious  pennies 
for  it,  and  denied  myself  cornballs  and  soap  bubbles  for 
a  week.  Then  the  bottled  chestnuts  were  photographed 
and  we  gave  a  few  pennies  more — or  the  price  of  a  bag  of 
precious  peanuts — for  the  "carte  de  visite." 

Thus  we  paid  for  those  actual  chestnuts  and  so  helped 
a  worthy  cause.  Other  "chestnuts"  were  given  to  us  and, 
true  to  the  law  of  human  nature,  I  don't  think  we  appre- 
ciated them  half  as  much.  They  were  given  to  us  from  the 
pulpit  of  a  Sunday — I  should  say,  from  recollection,  about 
once  in  two  weeks,  but  in  reality  I  presume  it  was  not 
oftener  than  once  a  month.  Those  were  called  "missionary 
Sundays" ;  they  were  not  bulletined  or  advertised  in  ad- 
vance;  they  took  us  as  they  found  us,  and  thereby,  perhaps, 
they  found  a  good  many  more  of  us  than  they  otherwise 
might  have  done.  We  knew  it  was  missionary  Sunday  in 
my  church  when  a  certain  tall,  white-headed,  sepulchre- 
voiced  minister  from  another  town  took  a  seat  on  the  pul- 
pit platform  with  our  regularly  employed  minister.  I  see 
him  yet,  I  hear  his  voice;  but  I've  forgotten  what  he  said, 
if  I  ever  heard. 

Nature  abhors  a  void.  When  that  missionary-Sunday 
man  ceased  coming  there  may  have  been  no  one  to  fill  his 
place  ;  I  do  not  know  for  I  was  not  in  Rockville  then.  But 
the  thought  comes  to  me  that  you  and  nature  are  trying 
to  train  me  to  fill  his  place — if  not  as  a  pleader  for  mis- 
sions, at  least  as  a  dispenser  of  "chestnuts."  And,  from 
the  way  the  training  has  gone  on  the  past  year  or  two  I 
wonder  if  half  a  century  from  now  some  one  will  not  rise 
up  and  say  of  my  gray  beard  and  "chestnuts"  all  that  I 
say — and  even  all  that  I  think — of  my  early  predecessor. 


Reminiscence  must  always  be  personal  even  if  it  is  not 
respectful.  It  implies  old  age  looking  back  upon  youth. 
Every  generation  since  Nestor  has  had  men  who  would 
indulge  in  it.  Now,  the  vision  of  youth  is  somewhat  dis- 
torted. The  world  appears  to  us  as  children  to  be  divided 
into  giants,  clowns  and  pigmies.  The  giants  are  all  the  self- 
respecting  adults  whom  our  parents  know,  or  who  get  hon- 
orable mention  on  the  street  or  in  the  baseball  stand — a 
considerable  class  ;  the  clowns  are  those  who  for  one  rea- 
son or  another  cannot  win  the  respect  of  children  ;  the  pig- 
mies are  those  around  us  as  other  children.  The  giants 
will  remain  giants  in  our  memories  forever,  even  though 
some  of  them  were  pretty  "small  potatoes" ;  the  pigmies, 
many  of  them,  we  watch  grow  or  find  they  have  developed 
into  giants  after  we  have  been  away  from  home  a  few  years. 
To  illustrate:  Men  who  always  have  been  giants  to  me — 
and  most  properly  so — are  men  like  Judge  Loomis,  Judge 
Talcott,  George  Maxwell,  Charles  Harris  (who  somehow 
I  always  picture  with  a  fireman's  red  shirt  and  trumpet), 
Gardner  Grant,  the  Talcottville  Talcotts.  Congressman 
Henry,  George  Brown.  Mr.  Ogden,  Mr.  Parker,  Mr.  Symonds 
— and  with  them  every  man  who  wore  the  blue.  The  one 
or  two  who  seemed  to  grow  backwards  into  "small  pota- 
toes" as  I  grew  older  and  gained  a  better  vision,  I  cannot 
now  recall — I  believe  none  are  living.  Of  contemporaneous 
little  chaps  who  have  become  giants — why,  I  need  only  call 
the  roll  from  my  various  teachers'  old  record  books  !  And 
for  the  development  of  the  one  who  first  stood  before  us 
as  a  regulation  lawr  student,  I  have  only  to  point  to  Hon. 
Charles  Phelps.  For  the  development  of  the  boys  who  were 
the  first  to  receive  diplomas  at  the  High  School,  the 
"Goodell  boys,"  I  have  only  to  refer  to  him  who  reads  the 
ode  today.  I  never  could  have  aspired  to  step  so  jauntily 
to  their  level  as  I  have  on  this  occasion,  and  I  must  not 
forget  that  it  was  simply  as  dispenser  of  chestnuts  that  the 
committee  boosted  me  here. 


We  boys  of  the  sixties  and  seventies  were  on  the  thres- 
hold of  a  new  era — a  few  were  already  over  it.  I  heard  a 
learned  educator  the  other  evening  analyzing  a  Massachu- 
setts state  report  and  lamenting  the  present  educational  con- 
ditions that  surround  our  youth.  He  said  with  sorrow  that 
the  present  course  of  studies  in  our  schools  did  not  attract 
our  boys  and  girls  after  they  had  reached  the  legal  age  limit 
of  fourteen,  and  they  were  glad  to  abandon  their  studies.  If 
my  recollection  of  my  boyhood  days  is  trustworthy,  it  is  not 
in  that  particular  that  today  differs  from  yesterday.  But 
he  went  on  to  say  that  in  this  generation  the  child  is  de- 
prived of  the  home  education  he  or  she  formerly  received, 
meaning  the  work  about  the  house  and  grounds  which  made 
girls  good  housekeepers  and  boys  good  jacks  at  about  all 
ordinary  trades.  What  with  bread  made  by  machinery, 
clothes  and  dishes  washed  by  machinery,  sewing  done  by 
machinery  and  houses  cleaned  by  hose  and  suction,  what  is 
left  for  a  girl  but  to  go  to  dancing  school?  And  with  our 
kindling  wood  bought  in  bundles  and  bags  over  the  grocer's 
counter,  what  is  there  for  the  boy  but  to  play  baseball? 
My  learned  friend  treated  the  subject  more  seriously  than 
my  paraphrase  might  indicate — as  one  of  the  great  national 
problems  of  the  day;  and  considering  the  mass  of  children, 
by  and  large,  we  ought  all  to  watch  the  experiments  in  voca- 
tion schools.  I  want  to  acknowledge  right  now  my  indebted- 
ness to  my  parents  for  bringing  me  into  the  world  before 
the  labor-saving  devices  for  children  had  been  invented. 
Many  of  you  are  even  better  off  in  this  respect  than  I  am. 
As  I  say,  my  boyhood  was  on  the  threshold  of  this  new 
era;  a  few  years  and  1  wouldn't  have  known  what  it  was 
to  split  and  pile  wood  and  do  like  chores  before  I  could  go. 
skating  or  play  ball. 

And  now,  the  last  vestige  of  joking  aside,  what  were  we 
village  boys  learning  that  can't  be  learned  from  any  text- 
books?    What  were  we  having  instilled  into  us  that  would 

i  worth  more  in  getting  on  in  life  than  tearing  Milton's 
"Paradise   Lost"  into  prepositions  and   adverbs?  We  were 

.Member   of   Committees   on    Reception 
and       Invitations,       Sports,      Public 

FRANCIS     !',.    SKINNER, 
Member  of  the  Committees  on  Sports, 


Member  Committee  on  Decoration. 

Member  of  the  Committee  on   Trans- 


learning  to  use  our  hands  and  eyes  and  bodies ;  and  we 
were  learning  to  perform  heavy  tasks  for  the  general  family 
good  before  we  went  out  for  selfish  amusement.  Some- 
times, when  the  fishing  was  good  or  the  circus  unusually 
well  advertised,  the  parental  hand  may  have  seemed  relent- 
less if  not  cruel,  but  by  holding  us  to  the  tasks  that  some 
one  must  perform,  we  learned  to  subordinate  personal  de- 
sires and  we  gained  also  a  power  of  steadfast  application 
which  was  to  help  us  in  our  future  studies  and  in  earning 
our  daily  bread.  We  know  that  the  youth  of  today  have 
their  annoyances ;  we  know  that  the  football  arena  and  the 
tennis  court  can  test  their  mettle,  but  if  advancing  civiliza- 
tion has  reduced  the  number  of  practical  ways  in  which 
their  mettle  may  be  tested  until  it  has  become  a  matter  of 
grave  national  concern,  we  must  grieve  as  loyal  citizens  but, 
in  this  moment  of  reminiscence,  we  may  rejoice  that  we 
were  born  when  we  were. 

"The  true  man  never  wishes  to  be  a  child  again."  Ah.  but 
those  were  halcyon  days  in  the  little  village.  We  cannot 
say  that  they  began  and  ended  then,  for  our  fathers  and 
mothers  believe  that  the  real  halcyon  days  were  when 
they  were  young.  But  there  was  then  no  shriek  of  whistle 
on  or  around  "Snip,"  the  Vernon  reservoir  hadn's  been  fished 
dry,  arbutus  hadn't  been  uprooted,  a  boy  could  consume  a 
whole  day  in  getting  to  West  Street  and  back.  Exchange 
Building  was  a  skyscraper,  Talcott  Park  was  a  ball  ground, 
we  could  coast  on  almost  any  street  and  the  girls  were  al- 
ways ready  to  play  Copenhagen  !  For  tight  ropes  to  per- 
form on  we  had  the  cables  in  "Father"  Lewis's  quarry  right 
back  of  the  school  grounds ;  for  "run.  sheep,  run"  we  had 
the  full  sweep  from  "Snip"  down  to  the  Saxony  Mill  and  no 
trolley  in  the  way.  Our  chief  evening  entertainment  is  re- 
called by  the  outdoor  vaudeville  performance  this  week. 
It  was  given  on  identically  the  same  spot,  near  "the  hotel," 
the  blazing  torches  gathering  us  street  Arabs  from  far  and 
near.  There  was  only  one  principal  performer  and  he  was 
selling  patent  medicine  or  cleanser.     Oh,  the  excitement  of 


it  when  he  got  one  of  us  up  under  his  light  to  illustrate 
the  virtues  of  his  bottled  stuff — to  pull  a  tooth,  bathe  a 
bruise  or  clean  a  spot  off  our  coats !  I  can  see  those  smoky 
torches  and  smell  that  stuff  now,  and  almost  can  hear  the 
swear  words  of  some  of  the  village  elders  when  we  stepped 
on  their  toes.  For  everybody  attended  these  performances. 
That  village  didn't  need  much  law — to  our  minds.  When 
there  was  an  infraction  and  a  consequent  enforcement  by 
Sheriff  Paulk  or  the  constables,  the  whole  town  knew  about 
it  and  assembled.  The  hideous  violator  was  dragged  into 
the  damp  dungeon  hole  under  a  market  near  Market  Street 
bridge.  Of  beverages  we  saw  little  effect  except  in  the 
innocent  joyousness  of  our  German  citizens  at  the  celebra- 
tions of  the  Turners  in  Doane's  Grove.  Yet  there  must 
have  been  evil  within  the  knowledge  of  the  authorities,  for 
I  recall  vividly  the  scene  (after  no-license  had  been  voted) 
when  great  casks  were  opened  near  the  present  Park  Place 
and  their  amber  contents  were  allowed  to  flow  down  the 
gutters  to  the  canal.  And  when  there  was  a  fire,  what  ter- 
ror was  struck  into  our  young  breasts  by  those  booming 
factory  bells  the  length  of  the  valley  and  the  shouts  of  the 
men  running  with  the  machine ! 

Every  town  has  its  precious  landmarks,  and  buildings 
particularly  dear  to  old  inhabitants  and  former  residents. 
Hartford  has  its  Charter  Oak  Site,  but  Hartford  never  had 
a  Talcott's  Grove  or  a  Doane's  Grove.  New  Haven  has  its 
Hyperion  Theater,  but  New  Haven  never  had  a  White's 
(  >pera  House.  Waterbury  has  its  Roaring  Brook  and  its 
Naugatuck,  but  it  never  had  a  Hockanum.  Bridgeport  has 
its  harbor,  but  it  never  had  a  Paper  Mill  Pond.  All  those 
towns  are  pleasant  to  live  in — for  a  time ;  I  know  by  experi- 
ence ;  but  for  boys  and  girls  they  can't  compare  with  the 
Rockville  we  boys  and  girls  knew. 

"Rockville  hasn't  changed  much,"  so  some  of  the  present 
dwellers  say.  We  old-timers,  returning  every  chance  we 
get,  love  it  all  the  more  on  that  account.  It  has  changed 
and  just  now  it  is  changing  so  rapidly  that  we  fear  most 


of  the  old  familiar  places  and  things  will  be  obliterated. 
Then  shall  we  have  to  center  Qur  affections  upon  this  beau- 
tiful Vernon  Center  which  verily  changeth  not,  and  in  its 
loveliness  cannot  be  changed  except  to  harm. 

I  know  the  committee  never  intended  that  I  should  get  up 
here  and  speak  "the  truth,  the  whole  truth  and  nothing  but 
the  truth,"  as  youthful  Senator  Noone  would  phrase  it. 
The  whole  of  it  would  take  the  rest  of  the  week.  Every 
one  of  us  has  his  or  her  particular  memories,  cherished  and 
ever  with  us  wherever  we  may  wander.  What  I  was  to 
do,  then,  was  to  appear  as  the  representative  of  the  old 
boys  and  girls,  and  to  say  something  which  should  voice 
the  home  sentiment  of  all  of  them.  The  giants  of  my  day 
may  have  been  the  pigmies  of  the  days  of  some  of  you, 
and  the  pigmies  of  my  day  the  giants  to  others  of  you. 
Some  of  us  may  have  different  pictures  than  others  of  us 
have  of  "Father"  Lewis'  quarry,  Putnam's  sawmill,  the 
Saxony,  the  Leeds  Mill,  the  American,  the  Warp  Mill,  Paper 
Mill  Pond,  Snipsic  Lake  and  even  White's  Opera  House, 
but  we  have  one  thing  in  common — our  fondness  for  getting 
back  here.  Perhaps  some  of  us  thought  the  told  town  was 
rather  slow  when  we  turned  our  backs  and  hurried  down 
the  valley  to  Vernon  Depot  where  we  waited  only  for  the 
next  train  east  or  west;  but  I  know  that  no  one  will  dispute 
me  when  I  say  that  those  of  us  who  went  farthest  east  or 
west  envy  those  of  us  who  stopped  nearer  by  because  we 
can  the  more  readily  and  the  more  frequently  get  back  here 
to  the  old  scenes. 

This  implies  that  the  atmosphere  of  the  old  town  was 
the  same  for  us  all.  We  realize  this  fact  down  deep  in  our 
hearts  ;  I  see  it  reflected  in  the  faces  of  those  before  me,  and 
it  finds  expression  in  the  moments  when  we  drop  the  cele- 
bration spirit  and  each  communes  with  himself  or  herself. 
It  was  a  Godly  town  ;  it  was  a  town  in  which  the  young 
were  carefully  guided  into  the  right  path.  It  was  a  demo- 
cratic town  where  the  children  of  the  rich  and  the  poor  were 
on  the  same  level,  and  caste  unknown  was  unknown.     It 


was  a  town  of  neighbors,  for  the  most  part  hard-working 
and  thrifty,  innocent  in  their  amusements,  modest  and  hum- 
ble in  their  disposition,  developing  the  man  fiber  and  the 
woman  fiber  which  the  world  stamps  as  New  England.  As 
such  a  community  must  be,  it  was  patriotic.  There  are 
those  of  us  here  whose  most  vivid  recollection  still  is  of  the 
days  when  men  abandoned  the  loom  and  the  plow  to  answer 
the  nation's  call ;  and  thank  God !  there  still  are  some  of 
those  men  with  us  who  can  hear  us  proclaim  our  pride 
in  the  record  of  the  town  in  the  Civil  War. 

We  have  much,  then,  in  common  memory  to  be  thank- 
ful for — in  the  hallowed  memories  as  well  as  in  the  rem- 
iniscence of  frolic  and  fun.  Most  naturally,  therefore,  we 
all  of  us  wish  to  renew  our  youth ;  we  all  of  us  wish  to 
recall  and  refresh  the  ideals  of  our  days  of  worthiest  ambi- 
tion ;  we  all  of  us  like  to  pay  tribute  to  the  high  thinking 
(if  lowly  living)  of  the  times  past,  to  the  atmosphere  cre- 
ated by  such  noble  men  as  Winslow  and  Fisk  and  Hyde 
and  Kelsey  and  Bingham  and  Kellogg  and  Maxwell  and 
Loomis  and  Spaulding  and  Risley  and  Dickinson — we  all 
of  us  like  to  grasp  the  hands  and  look  into  the  eyes  of  those 
who  shared  our  early  joys  and  sorrows,  and  of  those  who 
blessed  us  as  we  went  forth.  And  we  all  of  us  commend 
those  who  have  remained  here  and  those  who  have  come 
upon  the  scene  since  our  day,  to  maintain  the  old-time 
standard  for  the  unpretentious,  conservative  yet  ever  pro- 
gressive town  of  Vernon. 




The  commemorative  poem,  written  by  Prof.  Thomas  D. 
Goodell  of  New  Haven,  a  member  of  the  faculty  of  Yale 
University  and  a  former  Rockville  boy,  was  read  by  him. 

It  follows  in  full : 

Tpocpela  irarpiht  ar]/j,epov  (f>epa)  TcLSe. 

As  the  Greek  youth  brought  to  his  nurse  a  gift, 
So  bring  I  this  thank-offering  to  our  town. 

"More  room  !"  said  the  folk  of  the  river  towns. 

Hartford  and  Windsor  and  Wethersfield. 

"There's  good  land  east  fair  crops  will  yield. 
Let  the  Old  World  fight  for  outworn  crowns. 

We've  better  to  do,  building  a  state 
Godly  and  free — and  rich,  maybe; 
And  if  stepmotherly  England  frowns, 
She's  a  long  way  off!"     So  they  spread  o'er  the  plain 
Homes  and  billows  of  ripening  grain. 

And  on  the  hilltop  consecrate 
The  house  where  God's  word  shall  be  strictly  taught. 

Wheat,  rye,  and  the  red  gold  of  Indian  corn, 
W,Tool  and  flax,  which  the  women  wrought 
With  distaff  and  spinning-wheel  and  loom — 

This  was  their  wealth  ;  and  children  were  born, 
Many  and  sturdy,  and  still  there  was  room. 
If  dwellings  were  plain  and  winters  were  long, 
They  woke  in  June  to  the  robin's  song. 

In  the  high  elm  orioles  hung  their  nest, 
The  bobolink's  rapture  gladden'd  the  morn. 

And  the  whippoorwills  charm'd  their  rest. 



So  in  these  upland  fields 

At  the  valley's  eastern  bound 
Time   her  slow   fruitage  yields. 

Priest  Kellogg,  servant  of  God  and  man,  long  crown'ct 
With  love  and  honor,  in  yon  God's  acre  sleeps. 

The  colonies  are  states,  united,  strong 

In  hope  and  promise  that  to  youth  belong. 
From  bnipsic  still  the  river  leaps 

Unhinder'd,  pure,  down  the  cool  forest  glen. 
Said  men  of  Vernon,  "Now  why 
Need  the  hurrying  waters  rush  idly  by? 

Let  them  learn  our  Yankee  rule :  'tis  when 
We  have  done  our  stent  we  are  free  to  play. 

Let  our  wild  Hockanum  do  as  we !" 
They  yoked  him  to  mill-wheels,  made  the  spring  flood  stay 

To  help  in  August  drought. 
He  ground  their  flour,  saw'd  the  forest  away ; 
Then  to  finer  tasks  they  put  him  to  school, 
With  cotton  and  paper,  silk  and  wool; 

And  he  toil'd  for  all  in  season  and  out. 
Till  more  helpers  were  needed,  and  helpers  came 
From  the  crowded  lands  of  ancient  fame, 

From  Europe  over  the  sea. 
And  the  village  along  the  busy  stream 
Throve  and  grew,  and  began  to  dream 

(  )f  larger  things  to  be. 


Ah,  brethren  of  the  Southland. 

\\  hose  fathers,  with  our  own, 
'Stablisht  the  dear  Republic, 

How  keen  hath  our  quarrel  grown  ! 
Again  with  childish  wondering  eyes 

I  see  the  throng'd  street  on  that  July  day, 

The  waiting  coaches,  music  and  banners  gay, 


And  women  weeping',  while  hoarse  cheers  arise. 
Now  they  are  gone,  first  comers  to  the  call. 
"Three  hundred  thousand  more!"  From  all 
War  ever  takes  the  best.    Cheerly  they  fare 

On  toward  Potomac's  war-swept  banks — 
Young  fathers,  from  the  last  kiss  of  wife  and  child, 
And  boys  too  young  to  know  love's  wild 

Deep  ecstacy  and  woe,  whose  foreheads  wear 

The  mother's  chrism  of  farewell  prayer. 
Tho'  stern  forced  march,  Antietam's  field, 

And  Marye's  Heights,  and  Gettysburg  await  them. 
And  many  shall  return  no  more, 
Or  come  in  coffined  honor,  or  maimed  sore, 
Their  high  design  and  inborn  constancy 

And  valorous  hope  elate  them. 
Now  each  new  May  let  the  nation's  thanks 

In  fragrant  bloom  fresh  wreaths  of  honor  plait  them, 
By  whose  blood  and  agony 

The  nation's  wound  was  heal'd. 

Peace  once  more,  and  the  fruitful  arts  of  peace ! 

There  know  thy  strength,  my  country,  there 

Let  thy  pent  youthful  vigor  dare — 
Not  in  fleets  nor  tropic  empire — seek  release. 
Treading  new  pathways  to  a  nation's  glory. 
Which  yet  are  old  as  Athens.     And  Vernon's  story 

Shall  be  true  type  thereof  and  prophecy. 
Here   patience,   industry,   inventive   skill 
Win  nature's  power  to  do  man's  will 

To  free  mankind  and  magnify. 
And  whoso  buildeth  honest  work. 

Taking  no  private  gain 

From  other's  loss  or  pain. 
He  builds  for  all   time,  tho'  his  deed 
Aim  but  to  fill  the  daily  need 
For  food  and  shelter;  and  no  subtle  murk 


Of  social  theory  can  befog  his  mind 

Whose  hands  have  earn'd  a  home. 
Here  Irish  wit  and  German  thrift, 

Slavic  passion,  Italian  courtesy, 
And  many  an  Old  World  people's  special  gift, 
With  plain  New  England  common-sense  combined, 
Shall  shape  a  people  sane  and  strong, 

Full-rounded,  like  St.  Peter's  dome, 
Based  on  the  old,  unto  new  heights  ascending. 
Here,  too,  the  ancient  Mother  Church  doth  find 
Her  wilful  daughters,  tho'  estranged  long. 
Hands  of  ungrudging  welcome  now  extending, 

While  the  firm  Hebrew  faith  still  proves  its  power, 

Eldest,  yet  ever  young,  no  longer  forced  to  cower. 
Alike  one  Father-God  they  teach, 

And  that  man  liveth  not  by  bread  alone. 
For  every  word  divine  he  must  out-reach 

In  searching  unafraid.     Science  and  art 

Also  are  worship,  and  no  lesser  part 
Of  our  true  native  heaven-descended  speech. 
And  our  democracy  means  equal  right 
For  all  to  climb  the  spirit's  mountain  height. 
Here  therefore  shall  stand  open  wide 

All  paths  to  ampler  life — the  treasured  lore 
Of  ages,  and  the  swelling  tide 

Of  incorruptible  treasures  new  from  every  shore. 
The  hand  shall  here  learn  delicate  power,  the  voice 

Grow  musical,  and  homes  be  beautified 
With  gardens,  modest  or  stately,  that  all  eyes  rejoice. 
And  for  that  sweet  forest  glen. 

Long  lost  'neath  streets  and  factories, 
Art  shall  discern  a  way  to  compensate — 
With  shapely  bridge  and  planted  bank  and  park  again 

Make  beautiful,  with  tamer  harmonies, 
But  noble  still,  what  now  is  desolate — 
In  civic  grace    the  lovely  valley  recreate. 

Chairman    of    Finance   Committee   and 
Member  of  Committee  on  Historical 
Addresses,  Events   and    Relics. 

Member  of  Committee  on  Public  Exer- 
cises   and    Committee    on    Licenses 
and  Privileges. 

airman  of  Advertising,  Publicity 
md  Planting  Committee,  Secretary 
m  Finance  Committee,  Member  of 
Committee  on  Licenses  and  Privil- 

Member     of     Committees     on     Public 
Safety  and  Transportation, 



Thou  little  commonwealth,  our  home,  our  pride, 

A  fairer  dawn  draws  nigh. 
The  ancient  Dark  is   fading;  a  light  breeze 
Wafts  dewy  odors,  and  the  trees 
Their  leafy  answer  softly  make. 

Pellucid  gold  drifts  up  the  morning  sky, 
Song-sparrow  and  bluebird  are  awake, 

Soon  the   full   chorus   will  begin. 
Bathing  the  world  in  music,  telling  of  love. 

Then  day  shall  enter  in. 
With  light,  with  beauty,  and  with  joy,  whereof 
The  humblest  with  the  highest  shall  partake. 


Following  is  the  commemorative  address  by  Hon  Charles 
Phelps,  president  of  the  Vernon  Centennial  Committee  : 

Vernon,  our  beloved  and  typical  New  England  town,  has 
reached  its  one-hundredth  anniversary.  "The  horologe  of 
time  strikes  the  full  century  with  a  solemn  chime."  and  bids 
us  take  note  of  the  passing  years  ;  to  heed  the  lessons  which 
were  imparted  when  the  infant  town  was  baptized  and  to 
recall  those  which  we  may  have  forgotten. 

From  modest  beginnings,  Vernon  has  assumed  an  im- 
portance out  of  proportion  to  its  area  and  population.  It 
has  taken  rank  with  the  most  progressive  towns  of  the 
day  and  has  given  a  splendid  account  of  its  hundred  years 
of  progress.  The  fame  of  its  industries  has  become  inter- 
national, and  although  its  population  numbers  less  than 
ten  thousand,  it  is  equipped  with  a  free  library  splendidly 
appointed,  a  memorial  building,  and  with  site  secured  and 
arrangements  made  for  the  permanent  establishment,  in 
the  near  future,  of  a  manual  training  school  and  a  public 

We  are  celebrating  an  event  which  took  place  one  hundred 
years  ago,  but  incidently  commemorating  one  which  occurr- 


ed  three  centuries  ago.  Between  the  years  1607  and  1609,  in 
that  portion  of  rural  England  termed  the  East  Angelican 
Shires,  a  body  of  men  with  a  purpose  fixed  as  fate,  pre- 
pared to  leave  their  native  country  for  the  shores  of  Hol- 
land. No  celebration  of  this  character  would  be  complete 
without  their  recognition.  They  stood  for  institutions  and 
ideals  which  made  New  England  history.  They  kept  pace 
with  the  progress  of  independent  thought,  but  were  never 
swerved  from  their  ultimate  purpose.  Later,  when  they 
reached  the  shores  of  America,  they  brought  with  them 
the  principles  of  English  liberty  united  to  those  of  Dutch 

One  of  the  interesting  questions  of  the  hour  addresses 
itself  to  the  inquiry  whether  it  is  to  England  or  Holland 
that  we  are  most  indebted  for  the  best  that  remains  to 
us  of  those  institutions  founded  by  the  fathers.  The  town 
meeting,  free  public  schools,  equality  of  taxation,  and  the 
authority  of  a  representative  government,  are  the  true  prod- 
uct of  English  principles  united  on  this  soil  with  those 
derived  from  the  Dutch  Republic. 

What  was  the  ultimate  object  of  those  men  who  largely 
shaped  the  thought  of  our  Colonial  days?  What  dominant 
purpose  impelled  them  to  cross  dangerous  seas  and  to  ex- 
plore a  still  more  dangerous  country?  Obstructing  forces 
and  real  and  fancied"  persecutions  at  home  were  perils  of 
less  magnitude  than  those  which  awaited  them  in  the  New 

Under  those  political  conditions  existing  at  the  time  of 
their  separation,  it  was  impossible  for  them  to  enjoy  re- 
ligious and  political  liberty  without  incurring  personal 
danger.  But  they  were  eager  to  develop  and  spread  those 
principles  for  which  they  were  willing  to  sacrifice  all.  With 
this  desire,  however,  there  was  bred  something  of  a 
spirit  of  intolerance  which  attempted  to  force  upon  others 
their  form  of  a  theocratic  government. 

Their  purpose  aside  from  this  alloy  of  human  fraility 
was  one  of  the  purest  and  noblest  that  has  ever  actuated 


the  deeds  of  men.  They  wished  to  lead  Godly  lives,  and 
to  this  end  they  surrounded  themselves  with  those  things 
which  encouraged  Godly  living.  They  attempted  to  put 
into  actual  practice  their  own  literal  construction  of  the 
Bible.  They  insisted  that  others  should  do  the  same ; 
sincere  piety  was  to  them  the  test  of  citizenship.  They 
dreamed  of  a  pure  theocracy  and  laid  the  foundation  for 
such  a  structure.  They  believed  it  possible  to  square  their 
entire  existence  by  arbitrary  rules  wrested  bodily  from 
Holy  Writ. 

Their  ultimate  object  was  impossible,  but  in  their  per- 
sistent search  for  it  they  revealed  principles  of  political 
co-operation  which  has  made  their  name  immortal.  Like 
the  alchemist,  they  sought  something  visionary,  but  in  that 
search  they  gave  to  the  world  the  results  of  important  and 
far-reaching  experiments. 

We  are  their  heirs,  and  much  of  the  good  which  they 
accomplished  is  still  with  us.  We  are  all  equal  before  the 
law ;  the  burden  of  taxation  is  equitably  distributed ;  the 
system  of  free  public  schools  established,  and  the  old- 
fashioned  town  meeting  still  in  vogue.  Too  much  cannot 
be  said  in  praise  of  this  last-mentioned  institution.  It  is 
the  forum  of  the  people,  and  if  the  will  of  the  people  does 
not  here  find  free  expression,  it  is  the  people's  fault.  This 
institution  is  an  exponent  of  pure  democracy  which  an  able 
American  writer  once  compared  to  a  raft.  "Your  feet  are 
always  in  the  water,"  he  said,  "but  you  cannot  sink." 

We  are  enjoying  the  blessings  vouchsafed  to  us  by  the 
persistent  efforts  of  a  noble  ancestry,  but  with  these  bless- 
ings have  descended  corresponding  obligations.  To  our 
charge  have  been  committed  those  principles  of  government 
upon  which  the  hopes  of  a  people  rest,  and  upon  this  anni- 
versary we  may  be  properly  called  upon  to  give  an  account 
of  our  stewardship.  We  were  taught  the  value  of  the  sim- 
ple life  regulated  by  the  precepts  of  the  moral  law ;  that 
personal  independence  and  individualism,  properly  exercised, 
were  the  stamp  of  character;  that  the  will  of  the  people, 


properly  expressed,  was  the  supreme  tribunal;  that  town 
and  county,  state  and  nation,  had  each  its  peculiar  functions, 
powers  and  duties  clearly  defined  and  independent  thought 
related ;  and  that  they  should  experience  no  conflict  and 
suffer  no  encroachments. 

Can  we  truthfully  say  that  we  have  preserved  those  con- 
ditions or  that  the  principles  which  they  represent  have 
not  suffered  at  our  hands?  Facing  the  dawn  of  a  new 
■century,  our  answer  to  the  stern  inquiry  must  be  in  a 
measure  apologetic.  The  simple  life  has  disappeared  and 
has  been  supplanted  by  one  of  a  complex  character.  The 
excuse  offered  is  the  great  and  increasing"  activity  of  the 
age  ;  the  multitude  of  improvements  and  inventions  impell- 
ing a  degree  of  progress  amazing"  and  bewildering,  and 
calling  for  a  life  of  such  intense  and  ceaseless  activity  as 
to  strain  the  mental  faculties  to  a  dangerous  tension ;  a 
life  in  which  no  space  is  left  for  reflection,  meditation  or 

These  conditions,  exacting  and  exhausting,  are  to  be  de- 
plored, not  only  on  account  of  their  personal  effect  upon 
those  involved,  but  also  on  account  of  the  sacrifices  which 
must  be  made  along  other  lines  to  meet  their  require- 
ments. The  reflective  nature  and  the  poetic  temperament 
have  small  room  in  which  to  develop,  when  the  mind  is  com- 
pletely engrossed  with  the  thought  of  material  gain.  These 
conditions  partially  explain  the  relatively  meager  import- 
ance of  the  fine  arts  in  the  general  progress.  Poetry  and 
music,  painting  and  sculpture  have  not  kept  pace  with  in- 
ventions and  mechanical  devices. 

He  who  would  woo  the  muses  must  prosecute  his  suit 
for  Art's  sake,  lie  cannot  be  chary  of  his  time,  or  be  en- 
tirely engrossed  by  the  desire  for  material  wealth.  He 
must  develop  the  reflective  faculty  and  abide  his  time  ;  he 
must  wander  "far  from  the  madding  crowd." 

The  tendency  of  the  time  leaves  little  opportunity  for 
such  devotion,  and  even  when  exercised  it  is  doubtful  if 
it   be    sufficiently    appreciated.      Material    wealth    has    been 


given  such  undue  prominence  that  men  have  envied  the 
wearer  of  the  golden  rather  than  of  the  laurel  crown. 
Money  gatherers  in  their  narrow  and  superficial  review  of 
men  and  affairs  have  classed  the  scholar  and  the  pro- 
fessional thinker  as  non-productive. 

Consistent  with  the  idea  of  ultimate  attainment,  indi- 
vidualism has  been  thrust  aside,  and  enormous  combina- 
tions effected,  stifling  competition  and  minimizing  the 
force  of  personal  responsibility.  The  advocates  of  this 
departure  urge  with  some  truth  the  material  advantages 
thus  derived,  instancing  the  increase  and  availability  of 
those  things  which  a  few  years  ago  were  regarded  as  rare 
and  costly  luxuries.  Yet,  these  very  conditions  lead  to 
extravagance  and  excess,  and  no  material  advantage  can 
compensate  for  the  loss  of  the  personal  factor.  The  ten- 
dency to  combine  and  centralize  has  so  pervaded  all  depart- 
ments of  business  that  the  law  has  been  invoked  to  correct 
the  resultant  evils.  The  Federal  government  has  concerned 
itself  in  devising  means  to  forestall  the  general  effect  of 
this  centralizing  tendency  in  public  service  corporations. 
And  right  here  it  may  be  pertinent  to  inquire  if  the  gov- 
ernment, whose  aid  has  been  invoked,  is  itself  entirely  free 
from  any  fault  in  this  direction.  Has  it  drawn  to 
itself  powers  not  originally  designed  to  be  exercised  by 
it ;  has  it  in  this  respect  kept  intact  and  inviolate  the 
principles  of  the  fathers ;  has  it  wielded  no  weapon  in  this 
warfare  with  the  alleged  evil  other  than  that  delegated  to 
it?  It  must  be  admitted  that  the  tendency  of  governmental 
supervision  is  to  a  degree  in  accord  with  that  of  corporate 
management.  Both  are  systemizing  and  centralizing  their 
forces ;  both  are  combining  all  of  the  elements  of  power 
in  their  control  that  they  may  be  directed  from  one  author- 
itative head.  Town  authority  is  gradually  yielding  to  the 
superior  power  of  the  legislature,  and  the  authority  of  the 
state  to  that  of  the  Federal  government.  Such  a  system 
naturally  establishes  great  centers  of  power  which  disturbs 
the  general  equilibrium.  It  removes  from  convenient  reach 
and  makes  it  difficult  to  locate    the    responsible    party,    or 


to  curtail  acts  "ultra  vires."  The  very  government  is  thus 
laid  open  to  the  charge  that  those  evils  so  vehemently 
declaimed  against  in  corporate  management,  have  crept  into 
our  public  policies. 

In  the  closing  hours  of  the  first  century  of  Vernon's 
existence  she,  in  common  with  New  England,  is  concerned 
with  the  question  of  the  conservation  of  our  natural  re- 
sources. The  greed  and  folly  of  man  have  dissipated  these 
to  an  alarming  degree.  Commercialism  and  selfishness,  un- 
der the  guise  of  progress,  have  with  ruthless  hand  laid  waste 
mountain  and  plain.  With  utter  disregard  of  those  who  are 
to  follow  us  or  of  those  finer  feelings  which  are  indicative 
of  appreciation,  we  on  a  broad  scale  are  following  the 
example  of  the  spendthrift  and  the  prodigal.  Warnings 
of  wisdom  and  of  expert  science  fall  upon  deaf  ears,  or  if 
heard  are  received  with  indifference. 

The  wooded  districts  on  our  mountain  sides  protecting  the 
sources  of  our  noble  rivers  and  cascades  are  as  much  en- 
titled to  our  thoughtful  care  and  consideration  as  the  main- 
tenance of  our  highways  or  of  any  of  our  erected  memorials. 
Depletion  of  the  soil  and  exhaustion  of  mineral  wealth  occa- 
sioned by  wanton  destruction  are  beginning  to  show  their 
natural  consequences. 

Men  in  high  places  have  for  some  years  paid  little  heed 
to  the  voice  of  entreaty  or  to  the  note  of  warning.  We 
are  met  with  the  brutal  proposition  that  our  children  can 
take  care  of  themselves,  or  with  the  arrogant  assumption 
of  superior  wisdom  that  when  all  of  these  things  disappear 
something  better  will  take  their  place. 

When  the  beauty  of  the  noblest  and  most  picturesque 
waterfall  in  the  world  is  assailed  by  those  who  would  use 
its  power  for  commercial  purposes,  we  are  told  that  this 
is  an  age  of  progress.  Those  who  have  followed  the 
discussion  of  this  subject  on  the  platform  and  in  the  halls 
of  congress  have  had  occasion  to  remark  the  general  ab- 
sence of  sentiment  from  the  line  of  argument.  The  advo- 
cates of  the  measure  looking  to  the  conservation  of  our  na- 


tural  resources  have  perhaps  with  wisdom  urged  commer- 
cial reasons  for  stemming  the  progress  of  destruction. 

And  yet  what  mighty  forces  emanate  from  the  familiar 
scenes  of  "Old  New  England" ;  her  hills  of  picturesque 
beauty,  her  numberless  waterfalls  and  cascades,  her  dells, 
rivers  and  streams !  What  associations  cluster  about  each 
of  these !  What  inspirations  come  to  us  from  them !  He 
who  could  witness  unmoved  their  destruction  is  of  a  nature 
foreign  to  all  principles  adduced  from  the  fathers,  selfish, 
heartless,  barbaric.  He  who  would  destroy  them  for  gain 
would  sacrifice  any  other  temple  and  lay  waste  any  herit- 
age. What  would  be  the  New  England  town  when  all 
that  can  speak  to  us  of  the  past  disappear;  when  material 
conditions  shall  be  such  that  if  one  of  the  fathers  could 
revisit  the  old  familiar  scene,  he  would  fail  in  recogni- 
tion of  it?  What  will  New  England  be  when  conditions 
compel  us  to  strike  from  our  national  hymn  the  words  "I 
love  thy  rocks  and  rills,  thy  woods  and  templed  hills,"  as 
too  absurd  to  be  continued  longer? 

It  is  a  commentary  upon  the  character  of  our  general 
patriotism  that  the  president  of  our  republic  felt  compelled, 
in  the  face  of  this  menacing  evil,  to  assemble  at  Washing- 
ton the  governors  of  all  of  the  states  to  consider  the  adop- 
tion of  some  systematic  plan  which  would  save  us  from 
ourselves.  We  are  thankful,  however,  that  the  president 
had  the  courage  and  wisdom  to  arrange  such  an  assembly 
under  the  very  eaves  of  the  Capitol  and  during  the  session 
of  Congress.  This  is  a  good  omen  and  a  beneficent  sign 
of  the  times,  for  it  has  already  stirred  the  public  conscience. 
The  highest  courts  of  some  of  our  New  England  states 
have  also  moved  in  the  right  direction,  and  when  of  late 
appealed  to,  they  have  spoken  with  no  uncertain  sound. 
Forestry  legislation,  the  institution  of  Arbor  Day,  and  the 
quiet  but  effective  work  of  the  village  improvement  society, 
are  most  encouraging  features. 

Every  true  citizen  feels  that  it  is  his  duty  to  do  something 
to   preserve   those    things   which    have   been   passed   along 


to  him ;  to  use  them  wisely,  not  to  dissipate  or  destroy 
them.  It  becomes  his  pleasure  to  help  render  more  secure 
the  blessings  vouchsafed  to  him  of  a  material  as  well  as  of 
a  political  character.  The  obligations  existing  between 
him  and  his  country  are  not  as  some  would  have  us  be- 
lieve, all  on  one  side ;  neither  can  the  citizen  demand  of  the 
government  as  a  matter  of  right  those  things  which  he  does 
not  happen  to  possess.  This  tendency  leads  directly  to 
what  has  been  aptly  termed  "paternalism  in  government" ; 
that  doctrine  which  educates  the  idle  and  restless  to  believe 
that  the  country  owes  them  support  as  obligatory  as  that 
which  rests  upon  a  parent  toward  a  child. 

The  words  of  our  late  ex-president  on  this  subject  are 
words  of  wisdom ;  he  said  it  is  the  duty  of  the  citizen  to 
support  the  government,  and  not  the  government  to  support 
the  citizen. 

The  founders  of  our  New  England  towns  laid  great  stress 
upon  the  obligations  of  citizenship.  The  duty  implied 
therefrom  could  never  be  lawfully  shifted  to  other  shoulders. 
The  duty  exacted  was  a  stern  one,  personal  and  perpetual. 

A  government  built  upon  the  basis  of  good  citizenship, 
acknowledging  personal  obligation,  becomes  secure  in  its 
superstructure.  The  splendid  record  of  the  New  England 
towns  is  a  natural  sequence  of  such  a  beginning.  Person- 
ality of  a  high  character  entering  into  all  departments  be- 
comes the  most  efficient  force  in  government.  Where  it 
exists  there  is  little  to  be  feared  from  the  current  evils  of 
corruption,  favoritism,  boss-rule  or  monopoly,  for  the  citi- 
zen makes  the  state. 

Such  was  the  doctrine  of  the  fathers,  and  it  brings  us 
back  to  the  point  of  individual  responsibility.  The  town 
is  what  the  citizens  make  it ;  if  its  politics  are  clean  it 
is  because  its  citizens  make  them  so ;  if  its  government  is 
wisely  and  efficiently  administered,  it  is  because  its  citi- 
zens arc   wise  and  efficient. 

Let  us  then  dedicate  ourselves  to  the  principles  suggested 
and  taught  in  the  establishment  of  a  New  England  town. 

ecretary    of    Committee      on      Public 
Exercises,    Member    of    Committees 
on  Advertising,  Publicity  and  Print- 
ing, Licenses  and  Privileges. 

Member  of  Committees  on  Finance  and 
Public    Exercises    and    Ex-Chief    of 
Rockville  Fire   Department. 

A.    B.    PARKER, 
Member   of   Committees    on   Historical 
Addresses,  Events  and  Relics,  Invi- 
tations  and   Reception. 
Died  Wednesday,  March  3,  1909. 

Member   of   the   Committee   on    Public 


Let  us  take  a  stand  in  its  town  meetings  on  the  basis  of 
mutual  obligations,  and  for  the  principles  of  personal  re- 


The  Colonial  ball  under  the  auspices  of  Sabra  Trumbull 
Chapter,  D.  A.  K.,  commemorating  the  centenary  of  the  town 
of  Vernon,  which  was  held  in  Town  Hall  on  Monday  evening, 
June  29,  1908,  was  the  most  brilliant  social  function  in  the 
town's  history.  It  was  in  every  way  a  fitting  introduction  to 
the  events  that  followed. 

The  Towrn  Hall  was  magnificently  decorated.  Green  and  white 
were  the  predominating  colors,  and  American  flags  were  con- 
spicuous. There  was  a  streamer  ceiling,  every  streamer  being 
edged  with  a  deep  ruffle,  the  green  streamer  containing  a  white 
ruffle  and  the  white  streamer  a  green.  The  walls  were  covered 
with  pleated  bunting  of  white  all  the  wray  around,  partly  covered 
with  green  and  white  fans,  every  fan  containing  a  deep  green 
ruffle.  The  tower  was  decorated  in  a  similar  manner.  In  the 
center  of  the  tower  was  a  D.  A.  R.  emblem  in  between  the  laurel. 

The  stage  was  made  into  a  balcony,  the  front  being  festooned 
in  green  and  white.  The  background  was  green  and  white  with 
a  large  sized  painting  of  General  Israel  Putnam  in  the  center, 
with  large  American  flags,  military  draped,  on  each  side.  The 
picture  motto  contained  the  words:  "He  Dared  to  Lead  Where 
Anyone  Dared  to  Follow." 

The  booth  in  the  southeast  corner  of  the  hall  wras  decorated  in 
white  and  green,  with  a  large  shield  in  the  center,  made  of  red, 
white  and  blue  with  spangled  stars.  Inside  the  booth  were  two 
flags  on  staffs  near  the  lieutenant-governors  chairs.  The  gallery 
was  draped  in  green  and  white  in  an  artistic  manner.  The 
back  of  the  same  was  draped  in  white  and  partly  covered  with 
green  fans,  edged  with  white  ruffles.  The  pillars  on  each  side  of 
the  stage  in  front  were  covered  with  silk  banners.  On  top  of 
each  pillar  was  a  shield  draped  with  flags,  each  shield  surmounted 
by  a  gold  American  eagle.  On  the  east  side,  as  one  entered  the 
door  to  the  hall,  was  a  refreshment  booth  draped  in  green  and 
white  in  an  artistic  manner. 


The  illuminations  were  magnificent.  Streamers  of  electric- 
lights  were  under  the  chandeliers,  all  wound  with  laurel  rope. 
Streamers  also  followed  the  end  of  the  drapery  around  the  side 
walls.  These  many  white  bulbs  added  greatly  to  the  general 
effect.  The  decorating  scheme  was  an  original  idea  of  the  New 
England  Decorating  Company  of  Kockville,  and  the  electrical 
effects  were  furnished  by  Williams  and  Goltra  of  Hartford. 

Sutherland's  Foot  Guard  Orchestra  of  Hartford"  furnished  a 
delightful  concert  program  and  music  for  dancing. 

At  9  o'clock,  the  Putnam  Phalanx,  that  historic  military  or- 
ganization, arrived  from  Hartford  by  special  car.  The  members- 
were  escorted  into  Town  Hall  by  the  aides,  floor  committee  and 
reception  committee,  led  by  George  E.  Sykes  and  Miss  Florence 
M.  Belding.  They  formed  two  lines.  The  members  of  the  Put- 
nam Phalanx  passed  through  and  under  an  arch  formed  by  the 
wands  of  the  aides.  The  Putnam  Phalanx  were  seated  in  front 
of  the  gallery,  a  section  being  reserved  for  them  and  their  ladies. 

Following  the  reception  to  the  Putnam  Phalanx  came  the 
reception  to  Lieutenant-Governor,  E.  J.  Lake  and  Mrs.  Lake. 
They  were  escorted  by  the  aides,  floor  committee  and  reception 
committee.  Two  lines  formed  at  the  entrance  to  the  tower,  and 
Lieutenant-Governor  Lake,  escorted  by  Mrs.  E.  H.  Preston,  and 
Mrs.  Lake,  escorted  by  Colonel  Francis  T.  Maxwell,  passed  under 
the  wands  of  the  aides,  followed  by  the  other  members  of  the 
reception  committee.  They  were  seated  in  the  tower.  The 
aides  and  members  of  the  floor  committee  escorted  Lieutenant- 
Governor  Lake  and  Mrs.  Lake  and  Mrs.  A.  1ST.  Belding,  regent 
of  Sabra  Trumbull  Chapter,  D.  A.  E.,  and  all  Daughters  pres- 
ent, to  the  receiving  line  in  front  of  the  stage,  where  all  were 
received.  As  the  lieutenant-governor  entered  the  hall  the  or- 
chestra played:  "Hail  to  the  Chief."  Those  present  arose  and 
remained  standing  until  Lieutenant-Governor  Lake  took  his 

The  gowns  of  the  ladies  were  conceded  to  be  the  most  elabor- 
ate ever  worn  upon  any  occasion  in  this  section,  all  being  made 
with  the  Colonial  ball  in  mind. 


To  the  following  committees  is  due  the  credit  for  the  success 
of  the  Colonial  ball : 

Committee  of  General  Arrangements — Mrs.  A.  N.  Belding, 
chairman;  Mrs.  Robert  L.  McChristie,  Mrs.  E.  H.  Preston,  Mrs. 
A.  L.  Martin,  Mrs.  L.  T.  Tingier,  H.  H.  Larkum,  Frank  M. 
Adams,  Dr.  W.  H.  Eobinson,  George  E.  Sykes. 

Floor  Committee — George  E.  Sykes,  chairman;  Frank  M. 
Adams,  A.  L.  Martin,  W.  A.  Howell,  Dr.  W.  H.  Eobinson,  H. 
H.  Larkum,  Harold  Loomis,  Fred  X.  Belding,  T.  W.  Sturgeon. 

Aides — Miss  Florence  M.  Belding,  chairman;  Miss  Mildred 
Orcutt,  Miss  Gladys  Keeney,  Miss  Katherine  Murlless,  Miss 
Edith  Hayward,  Miss  Grace  B.  West,  Miss  Ethel  West,  Miss 
Edith  Harwood,  Miss  Ruth  Tillotson. 

Press  Committee — Miss  Grace  B.  West. 

Reception  Committee  —  E.  H.  Preston,  chairman:  A.  \. 
Belding,  Francis  T.  Maxwell,  A.  T.  Bissell,  Dr.  T.  F.  Rockwell, 
Robert  McChristie,  C.  E.  Harwood,  A.  P.  Hammond,  0.  C. 


The  automobile  hill  climbing  contest  on  New  England  Hill 
on  Tuesday  afternoon,  June  30,  the  first  event  of  the  kind 
that  had  ever  occurred  in  Rockville,  was  an  unqualified  success. 
No  feature  of  the  centennial  celebration  aroused  more  genuine 
interest  or  was  more  thoroughly  enjoyed.  It  was  conceded  by  ex- 
perts to  be  one  of  the  biggest  events  of  its  kind  ever  held  in  this 
country.  Seventy  entries  were  received,  including  several  of  the 
most  famous  machines  in  the  country,  with  drivers  of  national 
reputation.  For  weeks  the  officers  of  the  Rockville  Automobile 
Club  worked  hard  to  make  the  event  a  memorable  one.  President 
George  E.  Sykes  of  the  club  was  the  moving  spirit  and  he  was 
a  very  busy  man  for  two  weeks  preceding  the  automobile  hill 
climb.    Every  precaution  was  taken  to  guard  against  accidents. 

The  start,  which  was  a  rolling  one  of  eight  hundred  feet,  was 
made  in  front  of  the  New  England  Mill  office.  The  finish  was 
at  the  telegraph  pole  on  the  east  side  of  New  England  Hill, 
just  around  the  corner  where  the  road  turns  off  from  the  New 


England  Hill  schoolhouse.  The  course,  which  was  practically  a 
straight  one,  was  about  seven-eighths  of  a  mile  in  length.  It  was 
put  in  first  class  condition  by  the  city  of  Rockville,  and  the 
day  before  the  hill  climb,  President  George  E.  Sykes  of  the 
Rockville  Automobile  Club  had  it  covered  with  calcium  chloride 
to  prevent  any  dust.  The  course  was  roped  off  the  entire  dis- 
tance with  wire  rope.  By  an  order,  issued  by  the  adjutant-gener- 
al of  the  state,  Company  C  of  this  city  acted  as  a  patrol,  the 
members  turning  out  in  uniform.  At  stated  intervals  along  the 
course  men  were  stationed  with  red  flags  and  megaphones.  In 
this  manner  the  time  was  announced  at  the  grandstand.  On 
the  grandstand  there  were  five  hundred  seats,  which  afforded 
the  best  view  of  the  course.  These  seats,  which  were  sold  for 
fifty  cents,  were  all  taken,  and  thousands  lined  the  course  from 
one  end  to  the  other.  It  is  estimated  that  ten  thousand  people 
witnessed  the  hill  climb.  Citizens  of  the  town  of  Vernon  were 
represented  in  large  numbers,  and  all  the  adjoining  cities  and 
towns  sent  large  delegations.  Never  in  Vernon's  history  were 
there  so  many  automobiles  in  town. 

The  various  officials  who  had  charge  of  the  automobile  hill 
climb  and  to  whom  great  credit  is  due  for  the  success  of  the 
event,  were: 

Umpires — William  Maxwell,  Francis  T.  Maxwell,  Francis  J. 
Eegan,  A.  N.  Belding,  L.  F.  Bissell,  Everett  J.  Lake,  E.  J.  Gar- 
van,  Roy  T.  H.  Barnes. 

Referee — C.  H.  Gillette,  Hartford  Auto  Club. 

Starter — H.  P.  Maxim,  Hartford  Auto  Club. 

Scorer — Frank  S.  Olds,  Rockville. 

Timers— S.  M.  Butler,  New  York;  Philip  A.  Sayles,  New 
York;  George  Graham,  New  York. 

Clerk  of  the  Course — Warren  Bartlett,  Hartford. 

Assistant  Clerks  of  the  Course — C.  L.  Heath,  J.  P.  Cameron, 
A.  E.  Waite,  Leslie  Badmington,  H.  F.  Loomis,  J.  W.  McManus, 
William  H.  Yost,  F.  N.  Belding,  Fred  J.  Snow,  William  M. 
Lewis,  P.  M.  Talcott,  W.  H.  Robinson,  Arthur  D.  Sykes,  A.  L. 
Martin,  II.  H.  Larkum. 



To  such  as  love  to  hear  the  shrill  note  of  the  fife  and  the 
rattle  of  the  dram,  Wednesday  of  Rockville's  big  week  must  have 
been  a  day  of  days.  With  ten  corps  of  fifers  and  drummers 
parading  the  streets,  dressed  in  their  varied  uniforms,  and  headed 
by  imposing  drum-majors,  he  must  have  been  a  cold-blooded 
person  indeed  who  failed  to  get  some  thrill  of  military  fervor  into 
his  veins.  The  occasion  for  this  gathering  of  the  musical  clans 
was  the  contest  wherein  cash  prizes  were  to  be  competed  for. 

The  center  of  interest  to  the  large  crowds  congregated  about 
Central  Park,  was  the  judges  stand,  where  officiated  C.  M. 
Ulivieri  of  Florence,  Italy,  and  Titus  Whitehead,  a  member  of 
Ulivieri's  Band.  Drum-Major  William  C.  Steele  of  Hartford, 
occupied  a  seat  on  the  bandstand,  as  an  interested  spectator. 

Passing  in  review  before  the  judges,  each  corps  was  accorded 
points  on  its  performance,  and  general  appearance.  Both  modern 
and  ancient  styles  of  dramming  were  put  in  competition,  and 
awards  made  in  each  style.  The  following  corps  competed,  and 
prizes  were  awarded  as  indicated : 

Father  Matthew  Dram,  Springfield,  twenty-one  men, 
(modern)    $50.00. 

Lancraft  Drum,  Xew  Haven,  eighteen  men  (ancient),  $50.00. 

Father  Matthew  Drum,  Hartford,  seventeen  men,  (modern), 

Deep  River  Drum,  thirteen  men  (ancient).  $"25.00. 

Plimpton  Dram,  of  Hartford,  ten  men,  (ancient),  $15.00. 

McLean  Drum,  (colored),  Hartford,  ten  men  (ancient), 

Mansfield  Fife  and  Drum,  eighteen  men,  expenses. 

Buckland  Dram,  thirteen  men,  expenses. 

Glastonbury  Drum,  ten  men,  expenses. 

Meriden  Fife  and  Drum,  fifteen  men,  expenses. 

Several  individual  prizes  were  awarded  for  snare  and  bass 
drumming,  fifing,  (both  old  and  new  style)  best  drum-major, 
smartest  appearing  corps,  corps  coming  longest  distance  (Deep 
River)  and  oldest  man  in  corps.  This  was  John  Bolles  of  Mans- 
field, aged  73  years,  prize  $5.00. 


Undoubtedly  the  real  magnet,  which  brought  out  the  enormous 
evening  crowd,  estimated  at  twenty  thousand,  was  the  fire- 
works display  from  Fox  Hill  and  Central  Park.  Although 
scheduled  to  start  at  9  o'clock,  it  was  9  :30  before  the  twenty- 
four  extra-large  bombshells  were  heard  echoing  and  reverber- 
ating for  miles  around  furnishing  a  worthy  and  fitting  salute  to 
the  visitors.  Fifty  pounds  of  red  fire  fired  from  three  separate 
points  then  cast  a  luminous  light  over  the  entire  city.  The 
effect  was  indeed  striking.  Coupled  with  the  gorgeous  decora- 
tions and  the  magnificent  electrical  display,  the  scene  about  the 
center  of  the  city  as  this  red  fire  was  set  off,  beggared  description. 
The  same  amount  of  green  fire  was  also  fired  from  three  separate 

Fox  Hill  was  reflected  as  a  mountain  of  emerald  fires,  a  truly 
wonderful  sight.  There  were  many  aerial  pieces,  a  fine  rocket 
display,  numerous  serenaders  and  a  couple  of  set  pieces  in  Cen- 
tral Park.  The  set  piece,  entitled  "Vernon,  1808-1908,"  sur- 
mounted by  the  national  colors  and  displaying  the  red,  white  and 
blue,  suspended  from  one  of  the  lofty  elms  in  the  park,  was  a 
striking  one.  The  girondolas,  the  marvelous  in  fireworks,  at- 
tracted much  attention.  These  consisted  of  three  pieces,  placed 
on  ten-foot  posts.  They  rapidly  revolved  horizontally,  display- 
ing a  cascade  of  gold  and  silver  spangles.  Then  rising  from 
the  post,  they  flew  to  a  great  height.  Descending  nearly  to  the 
ground,  they  made  a  second  flight  into  the  sky  and  finally  disap- 
peared with  a  burst  of  brilliant  stars.  An  exhibition  piece, 
"Good  Night,"  produced  in  two-foot  letters  of  gold  fire,  embel- 
lished with  silver  gerbs,  brought  the  display  to  a  fitting  close. 


What  would  undoubtedly  have  been  the  grand  outdoor  event, 
and.  crowning  triumph  of  the  celebration,  could  it  have  been 
carried  out  as  planned,  was  the  parade  organized  by  Chief  Mar- 
shal Moritz  Kcmnitzer,  and  his  corps  of  hard-working  aides.  But 
alas !  for  human  glory.  To  vary  the  proverb,  we  may  say  that 
"the  marshal  proposes,  the  weather  disposes."     As  will  be  well 


remembered,  the  parade  had  hardly  gotten  under  way  when 
torrents  of  rain  descended,  and  put  it  out  of  the  question  for 
the  program  to  be  carried  out. 

The  order  of  the  parade  was  so  arranged  as  to  have  all  in 
readiness  at  two  o'clock  in  the  afternoon,  and  the  march  was  to 
have  lasted  about  one  hour  and  a  half.  Included  in  the  procession 
would  have  been  a  review,  by  towTi  and  city  officials,  of  the  fol- 
lowing: First  Regiment,  C.  1ST.  C,  Sons  of  Veterans,  Catholic 
Societies  of  the  town  of  Vernon,  Knights  of  Maccabees,  Odd 
Fellows,  Free  Masons,  Foresters,  German  and  Polish  Societies, 
with  several  bands  of  music. 

Florally  decorated  floats,  automobiles  and  business  wagons 
were  also  in  line,  and  a  contingent  of  private  and  unattached 
vehicles  were  scheduled  to  bring  up  the  rear.  All  in  all,  there 
would  have  been  presented  to  the  citizens  of  Eockville  and  the 
thousands  of  visitors  making  up  the  largest  crowd  of  the 
week,  a  moving  picture  of  the  civic,  industrial,  social  and  mili- 
tary life  of  the  community,  such  as  had  not  been  seen  in  the 
town's  history. 

Co-operating  with  Chief  Marshal  Kemnitzer  and  rendering 
valuable  assistance  was  a  special  committee,  consisting  of  Major 
T.  F.  Rockwell,  Captain  James  H.  Lutton,  Ex-Captain  Martin 
Laubscher  and  Captain  Earl  D.  Church. 

The  marshals  of  the  various  divisions  were :  First,  Dr.  Thomas 
F.  Rockwrell  and  Arthur  T.  Bissell;  second,  George  B.  Hammond 
and  A.  Leroy  Martin;  third,  Charles  Backofen,  A.  Gunderman, 
Ignaz  Kohn,  Charles  F.  Ludke,  Conrad  Sachse;  fourth,  Frank 
Goscenski;  fifth,  Fred  J.  Cooley;  sixth,  George  E.  Sykes. 

Firemen's  Day,  July  4th,  was  another  outdoor  event  of  im- 
posing proportions;  and  being  favored  with  ideal  weather,  the 
various  companies  participating  made  a  fine  showing,  and  af- 
forded the  crowds  a  Fourth  of  July  celebration  such  as  we 
seldom  get.  Companies  from  other  towns  and  cities  swelled  the 
ranks;  conspicuous  among  these  being  the  Veteran  Firemen's 
Association  of  Hartford,  with  the  veteran  Hartford  fire  chief, 
Henry  J.  Eaton  in  line,  accompanied  by  Colt's  Band.  Special 
interest  was  shown  in  the  Norwalk  Fire  Police,  and  this  was 


increased  by  the  fact  of  their  having  at  the  head  John  D.  Milne, 
a  former  Rockville  boy. 

Another  company  receiving  special  notice  was  the  delegation 
from  Pawtuxet,  R.  I.,  which  brought  back  to  its  home  town 
for  this  celebration,  the  old  fire-fighter,  "Fire  King."  Associated 
with  the  early  days  of  fire  protection  in  Rockville,  this  piece  of 
inanimate  mechanism  seemed  to  possess  a  soul  to  those  old 
veterans  who  marched  in  company  with  it,  and  remembered  the 
runs  they  had  had  together  in  days  gone  by. 

In  striking  contrast  with  the  veterans  a  juvenile  company 
styled  "Our  Boys,"  organized  by  Chief  Hefferon  and  drilled  by 
Charles  B.  Milne,  gave  a  pleasing  variety  to  the  parade,  and  a 
promise  to  the  citizens  of  younger  men  taking  up  the  work  which 
the  old  fellows  must  soon  pass  down  to  them. 

The  success  of  the  whole  parade,  in  its  inception  and  carrying 
out,  resulted  largely  from  the  personal  influence  of  Chief 
Hefferon,  whose  wide  acquaintance  with  outside  organizations 
brought  about  the  large  attendance,  and  secured  hearty  co-opera- 
tion from  all. 


One  of  the  most  interesting  features  of  Vernon's  centennial 
celebration  was  the  industrial  exhibit  in  the  Maxwell  Memorial 
Library  Building.  The  exhibit  was  open  daily  from  ten  to 
twelve  o'clock  in  the  morning,  from  one  to  six  o'clock  in  the 
afternoon  and  from  seven  to  nine  o'clock  in  the  evening,  with 
the  exception  of  Saturday.  It  was  visited  by  thousands  of  people 
during  the  week.  In  great  profusion  were  shown  the  goods  that 
have  made  Rockville  what  it  is  today,  the  "Loom  City,"  the  place 
where  the  finest  cloths,  the  best  fish-lines,  the  daintiest  silks  in 
the  world  arc  made. 

In  this  age  of  specialization,  no  longer,  as  in  bygone  days,  are 
nearly  all  of  the  industries  carried  on  in  the  farmhouse.  No 
longer  does  each  community  manufacture  practically  all  the 
things  it  needs.  No  longer  are  the  flock  and  the  loom,  the  silk- 
worm and  the  spindle  within  sight  of  each  other.  The  raw 
materials  are  now  gathered  by  railroads  and  steamships   from 

Secretary    Committee    on    Advertising 
Publicity  and  Printing. 

Treasurer  Finance  Committee  of  Ver 
non    Centennial    Celebration. 

H.    H.    W1LLES, 
Member  of  Transportation  and  Public 
Safety  Committees. 

Member  of  Committee  on  Public  Exer- 
cises and  Chief  Marshal  of  Military 
and  Civic  Parade. 


the  corners  of  the  earth,  and  railroads  and  steamships  distribute 
the  finished  product. 

Generally  speaking,  the  people  who  see  the  place  where  the 
things  they  use  are  prepared,  are  few.  Kockville's  centennial 
industrial  exhibit  was,  therefore,  a  real  object  lesson  that 
brought  enlightenment  and  education,  affording  an  excellent  op- 
portunity to  see,  not  only  the  finished  jaroducts,  but  in  many 
instances  the  goods  in  various  stages  of  manufacture.  Profit 
and  pleasure  came  to  those  who  inspected  the  products  of  Kock- 
ville's plants.  A  general  summing  up  of  the  various  exhibits  is 
herewith  given: 


This  exhibit  consisted  of  a  beautiful  array  of  rich,  soft  effects, 
produced  in  a  mixture,  and  double  and  twist  wool  cloth  that 
showed  the  highest  type  of  excellence  in  design  and  fabrication. 
Many  novel  and  delightful  effects  were  produced  by  the  fre- 
quent and  generous  use  of  white  silk,  combined  with  the  deli- 
cate grays,  tans  and  olives  of  the  wool  mixtures.  All  cloths  shown 
were  of  a  woolen  type  of  construction,  and  to  the  eve  the  effect 
was  most  attractive  showing  excellent  taste  and  skill  in  the  manu- 


This  exhibit  occupied  all  of  the  space  to  the  right  of  the 
entrance  of  the  library,  and  the  tasteful  arrangement  occasioned 
much  favorable  comment.  It  was  the  most  varied  and  largest 
display  of  fabrics  shown  by  any  one  concern,  including  as  it  did 
a  large  and  attractive  display  of  carriage  cloths,  in  addition 
to  the  regular  line  of  fancy  worsteds  for  men's  wear,  which  the 
company  manufactures.  In  the  exhibit  of  carriage  cloths  there 
were  the  most  novel  effects  in  fancy  weaves,  and  beautiful  color- 
ings in  whipcords,  Bedford  cords,  wide  and  narrow  wales  and 
diagonals.  In  their  regular  line  of  fancy  worsteds  for  men's 
wear,  both  heavy  and  light  weights  of  high  quality  were  shown, 
and  the  colorings  were  the  new  delicate  tones  of  gray,  stone 
and  tan,  as  well  as  the  most  complete  lines  of  blues,  olives  and 


browns,  the  mixture  effects,  as  well  as  the  skein -dyed  fabrics 
producing  a  pleasing  impression  and  giving  the  visitor  a  clear 
idea  of  the  scope  and  great  variety  of  the  manufactures  of  the 
American  Mills  Company. 



The  Hockanum,  Springville  and  New  England  Mills  showed 
a  most  complete  line  of  fancy  worsteds  occupying  all  the  space 
to  the  left  of  the  entrance  on  the  south  side  of  the  room.  They 
maintained  their  reputation  for  the  production  of  these  fine  and 
high-grade  worsted  cloths.  In  their  large  and  tastefully  arrang- 
ed display  were  represented  the  high- textured  fabrics  of  the 
Hockanum  and  New  England  Mills  and  the  beautiful  soft  un- 
dressed worsted  effects  of  the  Springville  Mill.  The  whole  was- 
a  bewildering  display  of  modish,  up-to-date,  stylish  fabrics  and 
color  combinations,  all  indicating  the  highest  degree  of  skill  in 
both  structure  and  design. 


The  northwest  corner  of  the  reading  room  in  the  Library- 
Building,  where  E.  J.  Martin's  Sons,  manufacturers  of  the  cele- 
brated ''Kingfisher"  all-silk  braided  fish-lines,  had  their  exhibit,, 
appealed  to  the  sportsman.  The  exhibit  bore  out  the  concern's- 
reputation  for  excellence,  reliability  and  perfection.  All  the 
lines  manufactured  were  shown,  in  the  various  sizes,  colors  and 
finishes,  both  on  spools  and  in  hanks. 

Cards,  with  the  various  lines  drawn  through  them,  were  handed. 
to  visitors,  while  description  leaflets  were  given  away.  The  silk 
of  which  the  lines  are  made,  was  also  shown,  as  well  as  the- 
machine  wiih  which  the  lines  are  braided. 

The  walls  were  decorated  with  brook  trout,  mounted  on  panels 
of  oak  or  birch  bark,  surrounded  by  skeins  of  lines.  The  trout 
were  caught  by  local  men  in  nearby  brooks  with  Kingfisher 



This  firm  had  a  most  artistic  exhibit  of  all  its  products.  Not 
only  those  manufactured  in  this  city,  where  spool  silk  of  the 
various  varieties  is  the  specialty,  but  also  embroidery  silks  and 
many  kinds  of  all-silk  fabrics  from  the  Northampton,  Mass., 
mills,  besides  piece-dyed  satins  and  taffetas  from  Belding,  Mich., 
were  shown  in  a  tasteful  manner.  The  display,  arranged  in  the 
form  of  a  dainty  booth,  the  pillars  of  the  booth  being  made  of 
hundreds  of  spools  of  green  sewing  silk,  beginning  with  dark  at 
the  base  and  gradually  growing  lighter  in  shade  toward  the 
top.  The  front  was  draped  in  pearl  gray  satin  with  festoons  of 
green  spool  silk,  while  the  background  was  of  Copenhagen  blue, 
sage  green  and  pink.  The  side  walls  were  made  of  countless 
shades  of  embroidery  floss.  Within  the  booth  there  were  about 
a  score  of  hand  embroidered  pillows  and  pictures,  some  of  the 
latter  rare  works  of  art,  requiring  years  of  work  and  being 
valued  at  thousands  of  dollars.  Practically  the  same  line  of 
goods  was  exhibited  by  this  firm  at  Eockville's  centennial  indus- 
trial exhibit,  as  was  shown  at  the  Jamestown  exposition  in 

In  addition  to  the  finished  goods  there  was  also  shown  raw 
silk,  "thrown"  silk  and  silk,  gummed  preparatory  to  dyeing. 
A  very  interesting  feature  were  the  silk  worms  in  all  stages 
of  growth,  beginning  with  the  eggs,  about  one  sixteenth  of  an 
inch  long,  and  ending  with  the  complete  cocoon.  These  were 
in  glass  phials.     A  limited  number  were  given  away  free. 


The  Arlington  Mills  Company  of  Lawrence,  Mass.,  exhibited 
a  fine  and  comprehensive  assortment  of  worsted  yarns. 

The  committee,  who  had  the  arrangements  in  charge  for  the 
industrial  exhibit,  consisted  of  E.  F.  Badmington,  William 
Maxwell,  F.  J.  Began,  M.  C.  Mason,  M.  H.  White,  A.  N. 
Belding,  A.  L.  Martin  and  Frank  Keeney. 



Never  before  was  the  social  significance  of  the  many  fraternal 
orders  of  the  town  of  Vernon  and  city  of  Rockville,  so  brought 
into  prominence  as  during  the  centennial  week.  Lodges  vied  with 
each  other  in  keeping  open  house  and  making  welcome  friend  and 
stranger  alike. 

The  limited  space  at  our  disposal  does  not  permit  of  detailed 
accounts  of  these  functions,  but  perhaps  some  further  mention 
should  be  made  of  the  reception  and  banquet  given  in  honor  of 
Most  Worshipful  Brother,  Edward  E.  Fuller,  Grand  Master  of 
Masons  of  Connecticut.  This  notable  event  in  the  history  of 
local  Masonry  marked  also  a  half-century  of  existence  of  Fayette 
lodge,  No.  69,  A.  F.  &  A.  M.,  and  the  anniversary  was  fitly  cele- 
brated on  the  afternoon  and  evening  of  June  30,  1908,  at 
Masonic  Hall.  Chief  among  the  incidents  of  the  celebration  was 
the  presentation  of  a  watch  to  Grand  Master  Fuller,  from  the 
lodge;  the  speech  of  presentation  being  made  by  Lyman  T. 
Tingier.  The  responsive  remarks  of  Grand  Master  Fuller,  and 
the  series  of  reminiscences  given  by  Brother  E.  Stevens  Henry, 
made  memorable  contributions  to  the  events  of  the  day. 

Amongst  all  the  reunions  of  the  week,  both  private  and  public, 
that  of  the  High  School  Alumni  Association,  on  Tuesday  evening, 
June  30th,  holds  a  big  place  in  the  memory  of  those  who  were 
present.  The  guest  of  honor  was  Prof.  Randall  Spaulding,  first 
principal  of  the  school,  from  1870-1873.  Graduates  of  1873  and 
1875  revived  bygone  history,  and  welded  the  chain  of  association 
with  the  events  of  1908.  A  specially  interesting  feature  of  the 
occasion  was  the  opening  of  the  "old  building,''  for  refreshments 
and  a  social  chat  among  the  old  classmates.  The  intermingling 
of  the  old  order  and  the  new  gave  pleasing  evidence  of  loyalty  to 
school  spirit,  and  of  pride  in  the  history  of  R.  H.  S. 

"Auld  Lang  Syne"  and  "Home,  Sweet  Home,"  had  never 
a  more  heartfelt  response  to  their  heart-stirring  strains  than  was 
evoked  at  the  service  in  Union  Church,  Sunday  morning  of 
dune  28th.  Here  gathered  about  sixty  past  and  present  mem- 
bers of  the  choir  and  led  the  good  old  hymns,  in  which  the  large 



congregation  joined  heartily.  Added  interest  was  given  the  ser- 
vice by  old  musicians,  who  played  instruments  of  reed,  string  and 
brass,  as  in  the  days  when  church  organs  were  unknown  in  the 

Another  of  the  chief  musical  events  was  the  organ  recital 
given  in  Union  Church  on  the  afternoon  of  July  2,  by  Prof. 
William  Churchill  Hammond  of  Holyoke,  Mass.,  assisted  by  Miss 
Ida  E.  Martin,  violinist,  Eockville,  and  Mrs.  Marion  Murlless 
Chapin,  soprano,  of  Boston.  All  three  being  claimed  as  Eock- 
ville artists,  it  was  a  fitting  combination  of  home  talent  which 
gave  pleasure  to  the  large  audience  assembled. 

The  exhibit  of  curios  and  historical  relics,  while  not  so  large 
as  had  been  planned,  proved  of  great  attractiveness  to  many 
people,  and  was  open  daily  throughout  the  week. 

One  of  the  most  useful  institutions  brought  into  being  for 
the  occasion,  was  the  general  information  bureau  promoted  by 
Manager  William  M.  Lewis  of  the  Eockville  Gas  and  Electric 
Company.  The  bureau  furnished  much  valuable  assistance  to 
visitors,  and  helped  in  every  way  to  make  their  stay  in  the  city 
agreeable  and  free  from  care. 

Best  houses  were  also  established  at  convenient  points;  and 
these  afforded  rest  and  comfort  to  many  tired  ones  during  the 
course  of  a  celebration  where  so  great  a  demand  was  made  upon 
the  staying  power  of  sight-seers. 

Turn  Hall  was  headquarters  for  the  special  events  planned  by 
our  German  citizens;  concerts,  balls,  and  other  entertainments 
making  up  a  season  of  gaiety  and  rejoicing  wherein  a  great  many 
people  took  part. 

At  Town  Hall,  many  similar  scenes  were  presented.  Eecep- 
tions  and  balls  were  given  there  by  the  Eockville  Baseball  Asso- 
ciation; D.  A.  B. ;  military  and  firemen;  all  of  which  were  freely 
patronized  and  made  the  occasion  of  social  display. 



The  histories  of  all  people  witness  to  the  love  of  man  for 
show,  for  diversion,  and  for  spectacular  entertainment.  And 
this  present  history  of  our  town  would  be  incomplete,  without 
some  preservation  of  a  record  of  those  lighter  features  which 
made  "Old  Home  Week"  pleasurable  to  young  and  old  alike. 

The  committee  on  public  exercises  spared  no  effort  to  assure 
a  season  of  good  humor,  and  of  delight  to  eye  and  ear;  and  the 
engagement  of  the  Victor  Amusement  Company  hit  the  popular 
taste.  In  this  aggregation  of  talent  were  animal  trainers,  acro- 
bats, dancers,  conjurers,  and  other  skilled  entertainers,  all  doing 
something  in  their  own  special  line  to  attract  and  amuse  crowds 
of  holiday  makers.  A  specially  interesting  artist  was  Miss  Mabel 
McKinley,  then  one  of  the  most  popular  singers  on  the  vaude- 
ville stage. 

The  White  City  Band,  under  the  leadership  of  Charles  M. 
Ulivieri,  gave  a  series  of  concerts  well  suited  to  the  audiences  of 
a  free,  outdoor  celebration;  the  popular  and  the  classic  styles  of 
music  being  judiciously  alternated,  so  as  "to  please  all  tastes." 

Besides  the  larger  shows,  all  manner  of  smaller  ones  such 
as  have  come  to  be  part  of  every  "Midway"  catered  to  the  fun 
or  the  curiosity  of  the  pleasure  seekers.  Day  and  night  did 
these  professional  amusement  makers  ply  their  arts,  and  it  was 
a  person's  own  fault  if  she  or  he  had  any  dull  moments. 
The  Connecticut  Company  rose  to  the  occasion,  and  produced 
displays  of  fireworks. 

Ball  games  afforded  sport  to  the  lovers  of  the  diamond;  and 
a  series  of  athletic  events,  comprising  races  and  other  tests  of 
wind  and  muscle,  took  place  on  the  Middle  Road,  drawing  a 
large  crowd.  The  success  of  the  athletic  events  was  due  largely 
to  the  committee  on  sports  and  R.  J.  Murphy,  who  combined 
experience  with  enthusiasm.  The  officials  were:  Starter,  R.  J. 
Murphy;  referee,  W.  J.  Murphy;  timers,  Fred  J.  Coolev  and  A. 
M.  Burke:  judges,  Fred  Wbodhall,  George  B.  Milne.  Parley  B. 
Leonard  and  W.  A.  El  holt. 

The  July  Fourth  parade  of  Antiques  and  Horribles  was  made 
the  occasion  for  a  more  elaborate  display,  in  keeping  with  the 
spirit  of  the  whole  week  of  carnival. 



To  properly  finance  Vernon's  centennial  celebration  was  no 
easy  task.  It  required  an  untold  amount  of  hard  work,  but 
there  was  a  noble  and  generous  response  on  the  part  of  residents 
and  former  residents  of  the  town.  Contributions  were  received 
through  the  local  papers,  coming  from  all  parts  of  the  country. 
The  first  local  subscription  came  from  the  Eockville  Leader,  the 
originator  of  the  idea  of  a  one-hundredth  birthday  party  for  the 
town  of  Vernon.  Its  contribution  was  $100.  To  Howard  K. 
James  of  Alameda,  Cal.,  belongs  the  honor  of  being  the  first 
out-of-town  contributor.  All  the  local  mills  gave'  liberally  and 
there  were  many  popular  subscriptions.  Nearly  $8,000  was 
raised  as  the  result  of  careful  planning  and  perfect  system.  A 
detailed  account  of  all  receipts  and  expenditures  was  kept  by 
Treasurer  Parley  B.  Leonard  of  the  general  committee.  The 
sum  of  $1,800  was  appropriated  from  the  town  treasury  to  aid 
the  centennial  celebration.  There  remained  a  substantial  bal- 
ance on  hand  after  all  bills  were  paid.  No  enterprise  of  this 
nature  was  ever  more  ably  and  successfully  financed  than  was 
the  Vernon  centennial  of  1908. 

A  synopsis  of  the  treasurer's  report  follows : 

Town  of  Vernon    $1,800.00 

Subscriptions 4,130.75' 

Advertising    1,751.08 

Privileges    290.00 

Total $7,971.83 


Advertising  and  publicity $1,476.98 

Auto  contest  200.00' 

Invitations  and  receptions 92.20 

Finance    24.00 

Public  exercises   3,717.22- 

Lights    1,861.91 

Sports    93.15 

Cash  on  hand  506.37 

Total $7,971.83: 


Official  Program,  "Old  Home  Week." 

June  28th  to  July  4th,   Inclusive. 


Morning — Special  services  in  all  the  churches,  sermons  by 
former  pastors  and  singing  of  old-time  hymns. 

Afternoon — Eendition  of  famous  oratorio,  "The  Creation,"  in 
Union  Church. 

Evening — Oratorio  will  be  given  second  rendition,  with  solo 
parts  by  distinguished  New  York  Artists,  Orchestra,  and 
Chorus  of  one  hundred  and  twenty-five  voices.  Historical 
address  at  St.  John's  Church  by  Rev.  Dr.  Samuel  Hart, 
Dean  of  Berkeley  Divinity  School  and  President  of  Connec- 
ticut Historical  Society.  Solemn  High  Vespers  at  St. 
Bernard's  Church,  with  sermon  by  Rev.  Edward  Flannery 
of  Hazardville. 


Afternoon — Opening  exercises  at  Vernon  Center  (mother  settle- 
ment of  the  town),  in  historic  Congregational  Church,  built 
in  1826,  with  following  program:  1,  Music;  2,  Invocation; 
3,  Address  of  welcome  by  Parley  B.  Leonard,  Esq.,  first 
selectman  of  the  Town  of  Vernon ;  4,  Reading  of  Act  of  the 
General  Assembly  creating  the  Town  of  Vernon,  by  Francis 
B.  Skinner,  Esq.,  town  clerk;  5,  Music;  6,  Historical  Essay 
by  C.  Denison  Talcott,  Esq. ;  7,  Music ;  8,  Reminiscences,  by 
Captain  Charles  W.  Burpee  of  Hartford;  9,  Centennial 
poem,  by  Prof.  Thomas  D.  Goodell  of  New  Haven;  to. 
Music;  11,  Commemorative  address  by  Hon  Charles  Phelps. 
President  of  Vernon  Centennial  Committee;  12,  Benediction 
Following  the  exercises  in  the  church  there  will  be  a  Band 
Concert  and  social  gathering  on  green  in  front  of  the  church. 

Evening— Grand  Colonial  Bal]  in  Town  Hall,  under  auspices  of 
Sabra  Trumbull  Chapter,  1).  A.  R.  Grand  Ball  at  Turn 
Hall.      Opening  of    Electrical    Display   and    Illuminations; 

Treasurer   of   Committee   on   Advertis- 
ing, Publicity  and   Printing. 


Member  of  first  graduating  class  of 
Rockville  High  School.  Wrote  com- 
memorative poem  for  Vernon's  cen- 
tennial celebration. 

Of    Hartford.      Former    Rockville    boy 
who  took   part  in   literary  exercises 

during  centennial  week. 


Band   Concert;   Vaudeville,    and   Midway,    on    East   Main 


Afternoon — Automobile  Hill-Climb  Contest,  Vernon  avenue,  at 
two  o'clock.  Athletic  sports,  including  foot  races,  sack  races, 
climbing  greased  pole,  etc.  Ball  game  on  Union  Street 
grounds,  Rockville  vs.  Middletown,  champions  of  Middlesex 
County  League.  Balloon  Ascension ;  Band  Concert ;  Vaude- 
ville, and  Midway. 

Evening — Meeting  of  Alumni  of  Eockville  High  School,  with 
grand  reunion.  Reception  and  banquet  tendered  by  Fayette 
Lodge,  No.  69,  A.  F.  &  A.  M.,  to  M.  W.,  Edward  Fuller,  M. 
W.,  Grand  Master  of  Masons  in  Connecticut.  Ball  in  Town 
Hall.  Electrical  display  and  Illuminations;  Band  Concert; 
Vaudeville,  and  Midway. 


Afternoon — Fifers'  and  Drummers'  convention  and  contest. 
Ball  game  on  Union  Street  grounds,  Rockville  vs.  Bristol 
Balloon  Ascension;  Band  Concert;  Vaudeville,  and  Midway. 

Evening — Grand  pyrotechnical  display,  furnished  by  Clarence 
D.  Holt,  former  Rockville  resident.  Band  Concert;  Midway, 
and  Vaudeville;  Electrical  display  and  Illuminations. 


Morning — Baseball  game  on  Union  Street  grounds  between 
Rockville  and  Springfield  State  League  team,  (game  will  be 
preceded  by  parade  of  the  players  of  the  two  teams  in  autos, 
headed  by  band). 

Afternoon — Baseball  on  Union  Street  grounds,  Rockville  vs. 
Springfield  State  League  team.  Balloon  Ascension;  Band 
Concert;  Vaudeville,  and  Midway. 

Evening— Rockville  Baseball  Association's  reception  to  players, 
entertainment,  and  ball,  in  Town  Hall.  Band  Concert; 
Vaudeville,  and  Midway ;  Electrical  Display  and  Illumina- 



Afternoon — Grand  military,  civic  and  industrial  parade,  ending 
with  Centennial  Drill  under  the  direction  of  Moritz  Kem- 
nitzer.  Band  Concert;  Balloon  Ascension;  Vaudeville,  and 
Midway.     German  Entertainment  at  Turn  Hall. 

Evening — Grand  military  ball  at  Town  Hall.  German  enter- 
tainment at  Turn  Hall.  Band  Concert;  Vaudeville,  and 
Midway ;  Electrical  Display  and  Illuminations. 


Morning — Parade  of  Antiques  and  Horribles.     Band  Conceit. 

Afternoon — Firemen's  muster.  Baseball,  Rockville  vs.  Stafford. 
Balloon  Ascension;  Band  Concert;  Vaudeville,  and  Midway. 

Evening — Firemen's  ball  in  Town  hall.  Band  Concert;  Elec- 
trical Display  and  Illuminations;  Private  Display  of  Fire- 
works; Vaudeville,  and  Midway.  Exhibit  of  historical  relics 
and  curios  each  day.     Industrial  exhibit  each  dav. 


Some  Press  Comments 


Bristol  celebrated  her  centennial  in  1883.  Now  it's  Vernon's 
turn.  That  is  really  the  ancient  and  official  town  name,  but 
Rockville  is  the  modern  expression.  "Old  Home  "Week"  has 
meant  something  there  this  week,  and  its  observance  has  been 
carried  out  in  a  spirit  of  genuine  hospitality  and  hearty  welcome. 
We  extend  our  congratulations  to  Vernon-Rockville.  Both 
town  and  city  are  a  credit  to  old  Connecticut.  Progress  and 
enterprise  and  many  other  good  things  dwell  there. — Bristol 


There  is  no  overestimating  the  value  and  importance  of  these 
centennial  and  bi-centennial  celebrations  through  the  state.  They 
revive  patriotism,  encourage  public  spirit,  and  make  in  many 
ways  for  good  citizenship  and  human  progress.  The  town  of 
Vernon  is  now  engaged  in  this  stimulating  sort  of  entertain- 
ment. Elsewhere  this  morning  we  publish  the  addresses  of 
yesterday,  each  of  them  worthy  of  a  wide  reading.  The  historical 
sketch  by  Mr.  Talcott  covers  most  interestingly  the  development 
of  the  place  and  its  progress  into  a  most  important  manufac- 
turing center.  Captain  Burpee  tells  entertainingly  of  various 
occurrences  in  the  life  of  the  town.  And  State  Attorney  Phelps, 
with  his  commemorative  address,  sounds  the  call  to  duty  in  an 
impressive  and  noteworthy  oration.  All  the  literary  exercises  are 
evidently  on  a  high  plane,  and  the  occasion  is  a  memorable  one. 
Rockville,  the  industrial  center  of  the  town  of  Vernon,  is  one 
of  the  greatest  woolen  producers  in  the  world  and  the  quality  of 
its  goods  is  proverbially  fine.  The  citizens  who  have  grown  rich 
with  its  development  are  constantly  doing  in  one  way  and 
another  for  the  town,  steadily  making  it  a  better  place  to  live  in 
and  sharing  their  success  with  their  fellow-townsmen. — Hartford 


Vernon's  big  centennial  celebration  came  to  a  close  Saturday 
night,  and  il  is  now  a  matter  of  history.  It  will  be  remembered 
as  the  greatest  and  most  successful  event  ever  taking  place  in 
the  town.  Hereafter  when  occasion  arises  to  fix  the  time  of  any 
particular  event  reference  will  be  had  to  its  having  been  before 
or  since  the  Vernon  centennial.  The  attention  of  the  entire 
state  was  centered  on  Vernon  and  Eockville  last  week.  The 
magnificent  scale  upon  which  the  town  observed  its  100th 
birthday  will  be  the  talk  of  everyone  within  a  radius  of  many 
miles  for  a  long  time  to  come.  Visitors  were  amazed  at  the 
elaborateness  of  everything;  things  were  conducted  on  a  scale 
that  would  have  done  credit  to  a  place  four  times  our  size.  The 
decorations  and  attractions  were  far  beyond  the  expectations  of 
the  hosts  of  people  who  came  to  attend  the  festivities.  Former 
residents  who  had  not  been  in  this  city  for  years,  came  back  for 
"Old  Home  Week."  meeting  old  acquaintances  and  reviving  old 
times  and  incidents.  It  was  a  great  time  for  Eockville  and 
everybody  who  had  anything  to  do  with  planning  and  carrying 
out  Vernon's  centennial  ought  to  feel  proud  of  the  magnificent 
success  achieved. — Rockville  Journal. 


The  big  centennial  celebration  is  now  a  matter  of  history,  and 
Vernon  (Eockville)  has  excelled  all  records  and  exceeded  all 
anticipations.  This  might  sound  egotistical  were  it  not  a  fact 
that  it  is  the  plain  truth,  corroborated  by  every  one 
who  witnessed  the  celebration.  Today  the  town  of  Vernon 
stands  higher  in  the  estimation  of  the  public  than  it  ever  stood 
before  As  we  look  back  it  is  difficult  to  name  an  event  which 
should  have  been  omitted  or  a  feature  which  should  have  been 
added.  A  week's  celebration  has  been  held,  covering  every  point 
which  such  a  celebration  should  cover,  dignified  and  formal, 
where  dignity  and  formality  were  appropriate,  informal,  happy 
and  homelike  at  all  oilier  times.  From  the  outset  doubt  had  been 
expressed  whether  a  town  the  size  of  Vernon  could  keep  up  the 


pace  for  an  entire  week  of  carnival.  There  is  no  longer  any 
doubt.  From  the  very  first  day  of  the  celebration  until  the  last 
day  the  pace  was  maintained.  The  populace  and  outsiders 
crowded  the  streets  day  and  night  throughout  the  entire  week 
and  joined  in  the  rejoicings  with  the  abandon  of  Xew  Orleans 
at  the  Mardi  Gras.  There  was  something  doing  every  minute. 
It  was  indeed  a  strenuous  week,  and  when  the  windup  came  late 
on  Saturday  night  there  were  undoubtedly  a  whole  lot  of  tired 
people  in  Eockville,  but  not  one  of  these  regretted  that  the  cele- 
bration had  taken  place,  although  possibly  some  of  the  number, 
if  they  were  going  to  do  it  all  over  again,  would  bring  it  to  an 
end  in  three  or  four  days,  instead  of  continuing  it  for  a  week. 

Aside  from  the  entertainment  and  enjoyment  features  of  Ver- 
non's centennial  celeb  ration,  there  have  been  other  features  which 
cannot  fail  to  benefit  the  town.  Eockville  is  known  today  from 
one  end  of  the  state  to  the  other.  Indeed,  her  name  is  being 
mentioned  and  her  praises  sounded  throughout  Xew  England. 
Every  person  who  has  visited  the  city  from  near  and  far,  (and 
there  have  been  people  from  every  part  of  the  country  here  during 
that  week)  has  advertised  Eockville,  has  had  a  good  word  to 
say  of  the  civic  pride  and  public  spirit  of  her  citizens.  Although 
small  in  size,  everyone  today  is  satisfied  that  Eockville  can  do 
big  things — things  that  cities  much  larger  could  not  do  one  whit 
bettor.  'Without  desiring  to  boast,  it  can  truthfully  be  said  that 
Eockville's  centennial  celebration  will  compare  favorably,  yes  hold 
its  end  up,  with  any  of  the  big  celebrations  that  have  been  held 
hereabouts  in  the  last  twenty-five  years. 

Nature  has  done  much  for  Eockville.  Conditions  here  are  ideal 
for  such  a  celebration  as  was  planned  for  the  centennial  of  the 
town  of  Vernon.  There  isn't  another  city  in  Connecticut  better 
adapted  from  a  show  standpoint  for  a  centennial  celebration  than 
Eockville.  With  its  beautiful  greensward  in  the  center,  its  triple- 
terraced  streets,  and  its  ideal  spot  for  a  midway,  (East  Main 
street),  everything  can  be  seen  to  advantage.  It  wasn't  necessary 
to  turn  Eockville  upside  down  to  convert  it  into  a  show  place. 
The  spectacular  and  show  features  were  kept  within  a  very 
limited  area.    The  center  of  Eockville  certainly  looked  grand.    It 


was  a  delight  for  visitors  to  walk  up  and  down  the  main  street 
and  pass  along  the  midway  by  night,  and  thousands  and  thou- 
sands who  did  it  night  after  night  were  carried  away  with  the 
effect  produced  by  the  decorations  and  illuminations.  They  did 
not  tire  of  them,  and  kept  coming  night  after  night.  Ask  any 
"Old  Home  Week"  visitor  what  he  thinks  of  Eockville  and  you'll 
get  an  answer  that  will  make  you  feel  proud.  It's  the  unanimous- 
opinion  of  all  who  spent  any  time  in  the  city  during  "Old 
Home  Week"  that  Eockville's  welcome  and  hospitality  were  of  the 
18  karat  kind  and  all  wool  and  a  yard  wide.  There  was  nothing 
lacking  in  welcome  and  hospitality  and  the  city  never  looked 

By  way  of  review,  it  should  be  said  that  Vernon's  centennial 
celebration  was  not  only  carefully  planned  and  wrell  financed,  but 
splendidly  conducted,  with  every  contingency  provided  for  and 
no  detail,  however  minute,  escaping  attention.  Of  course  it  isn't 
likely  that  everyone  was  satisfied  with  everything  that  took 
place  or  some  things  that  didn't  take  place,  but  generally  speaking 
there  was  little  criticism  and  practically  no  fault-finding.  The 
townspeople  marveled  at  the  magnitude  of  the  celebration  once 
it  was  under  headway.  To  the  men  who  labored  so  hard  and 
faithfully,  not  only  during  that  week,  but  during  the  eight 
months  of  preparation,  they  did  not  hesitate  to  award  a  full 
measure  of  credit,  realizing  that  it  w-as  a  big  undertaking  that 
demanded  self-sacrifice  and  called  for  ceaseless  toil.  It's  a  good 
thing  for  the  town  that  Vernon  had  the  men  capable  of  carry- 
ing out  the  undertaking  and  willing  to  do  the  work  necessary 
to  make  it  a  success.  It  wras  newr  work  to  most  of  them,  but 
they  never  faltered,  and  from  the  outset  displayed  a  spirit  of 
enthusiasm  and  resistless  energy  that  spelled  success.  Judging 
by  the  verdict  of  those  of  the  city's  guests  during  the  week,  who 
have  travelled  much  and  participated  in  such  events,  the  great 
enterprise  was  a  success. 

Some  special  points  should  be  noted  regarding  the  celebration. 
Perfect  order  was  maintained  during  the  entire  week.  Over 
100,000  people  occupied  our  streets,  and  there  was  no  disturb- 
ance, no  violence  or  theft,  no  accident  of  any  kind,  and  a  notice- 


ableable  absence  of  drunkenness.  That  such  admirable  order 
prevailed  is  a  credit  to  our  town  and  its  visitors,  and  this  com- 
munity owes  a  debt  of  gratitude  to  the  committee  on  public 
safety,  of  which  Mayor  Forster,  as  chief  of  police,  was  an  active 
member,  and  to  the  police  department.  Too  much  praise  cannot 
be  given  to  Captain  Edward  J.  Kane  and  his  men  for 
the  discipline  and  order  they  maintained  during  the  week  of 
immense  crowds.  Taking  everything  into  consideration,  it  is 
certainly  marvelous  that  there  wasn't  trouble  during  the  week. 
Captain  Kane  and  the  men  under  him  were  onto  their  jobs,  so 
to  speak,  every  minute,  day  and  night.  Both  the  active  head 
of  the  police  department  and  the  officers  seemed  to  take  pride 
in  their  work.  They  did  really  more  than  they  were  called  upon 
to  do,  realizing  that  it  was  an  unusual  time — a  time  when  too 
much  care  could  not  be  exercised.  The  good  nature  of  the 
thousands  of  centennial  celebrants  materially  aided  the  police  in 
their  work,  but  they  controlled  the  situation  from  start  to  finish 
in  great  style. — Rockville  Leader. 

The  Vernon  centenary  and  "Old  Home  Week"  festivities  at 
Rockville  are  bringing  great  throngs  of  people  there.  The 
weather  has  favored  Vernon  and  Rockville  splendidly  in  this 
celebration.  Manchester  has  contributed  a  generous  quota  of 
visitors  to  all  the  attractions  at  Rockville  this  week.  Wednesday 
night  the  fireworks  display  brought  record  crowds  to  Rockville. 
The  display  was  a  credit  to  Rockville.  AVe  certainly  take  off 
■our  hats  to  our  enterprising  neighbors  in  Rockville.  Their 
celebration  is  a  grand  success  and  they  are  covering  themselves 
all  over  with  glory.  Long  live  Rockville  and  Vernon. — South 
Manchester  News. 

2       7?o 



0014  1121789   O